April 24, 2012
UPDATE: Saltwater Connections moves into implementation phase

Starting with the May, 2011, Saltwater Connections Resource Team visit to Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo and Avon, many community meetings and discussions have been held on Hatteras Island, Ocracoke, and Down East, Carteret County. 

Saltwater Connections is a regional initiative aimed at sustaining livelihoods, cultural heritage, and natural resources along North Carolina’s central coast, from Hatteras Island to Ocracoke and Down East Carteret County.

The Saltwater Connections focus is now moving into the next phase, the implementation of community projects and programs.  

Here’s an update on the current status of Saltwater Connections.

Saltwater Connections Community Projects

 The revised guidelines and application for proposals are now posted on the website (www.saltwaterconnections.org).   Some of the highlights of the changes include: proposals can be submitted by community organizations or individuals; proposals will be considered in rounds ending May 31, 2012 and July 15, 2012; projects must be completed no later than May 31, 2013.  
The type of community projects Saltwater Connections is seeking include, but are not limited to, projects that address the needs of: nature-based, cultural and heritage tourism; commercial, charter and recreational fishing industries; business skills development or workforce training; developing value-added and new products; creating business models that can be replicated; developing branding, marketing and expansion of markets or supplies; creation of professional business plans; building on the local foods movement; creating or enhancing exhibits, events or other things to do, particularly in the shoulder season; promoting locally produced products or services; creating mentorship programs; enhancing youth entrepreneurship, providing a nationally recognized designation to a community or area; improving streetscape or signage; or using technology to connect entrepreneurs with markets. Saltwater Connections will not support projects where benefits accrue to only one individual or business.

Hatteras Island Implementation Steering Council  

About one-third of the folks who attended the March 8 Saltwater Connections public meeting at the Fessenden Center responded to a follow-up survey.  

Eighty-on percent of survey respondents indicated that they agreed in general with the idea for a steering group to be convened to communicate across the island and existing groups to coordinate efforts to carry out recommendations in the Saltwater Connections resource team reports.  Fifty percent of respondents thought the steering group should be an informal coalition.  Eighty-one percent supported the idea of island-wide subcommittees for design, promotion, economic restructuring, and emergency management.  

Folks who expressed interest in serving on the steering council will meet later this month to decide how to set up the council in a fair, representative manner, and to decide on a simple mission statement and organizational structure.  

Resource Team Reports  

The preliminary reports for Rodanthe, Waves, Salvo and Avon; Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras; and Ocracoke are posted on the website.  The Down East report will be posted after community meetings in Cedar Island and Harkers Island..  

“These reports began with resource team members listening to community members talk about challenges and opportunities.  The team toured the villages and interviewed local people, collecting data and information to understand local needs and conditions, reflect these back to the community, and develop recommendations for action.  This draft plan merely lays the foundation for local initiatives by noting ways that action might leverage existing local assets, and integrate local values.  The goal is to build long-term partnerships through which residents revitalize their economies, and preserve the unique character and sense of place that defines their communities.  Local leaders already have completed some projects in each area and are working toward completion of others.  This document is a first step, serving as a road map for the future.  Like any map, it will evolve as the community implements projects and programs, and as changing times require changes in priorities.”

--From the Buxton, Frisco and Hatteras report

Oral History Workshop

Saltwater Connections will hold a second oral history workshop on May 3 from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at the Avon Volunteer Fire Station.  The workshop will serve as a follow-up to a day-long workshop held in Buxton in March, and also will provide an opportunity for folks interested in collaborative oral history projects to explore partnership opportunities.  

For more information, contact Susan West, Hatteras Island coordinator for Saltwater Connections, at [email protected]t or 252-995-4131.

More information on Saltwater Connections is available on the website, www.saltwaterconnections.org.

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