January 23, 2018
Changes in the Works This Year at Community Square
The Ocracoke Observer
The Ocracoke Foundation plans to repave the Community Square parking lot this winter with completion expected before Easter.
Scott Bradley, Foundation president, said the project is possible
thanks in part to a grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, Rocky Mount.
This project involves repaving the parking lot with pervious concrete—a
costlier, environmentally significant option which absorbs rain water
instead of draining into Silver Lake, improving the harbor’s water
However, the new lot will lose four to six parking spots.
Golden LEAF has also granted the Foundation $175,820 to save, restore
and improve the Will Willis Store and Fish House (ca. 1930), its
support structure and surrounding dock, which were seriously
compromised in October 2016 by Tropical Storm Hermine and Hurricane
This building and dock is home to the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s
Exhibit, and refurbishing is planned to begin late in the 2018
The Foundation also has cleared the final hurdles to soon proceed with
the installation of waste water improvements at the Community Square.
Repaving the parking lot is part of this phase of the Community Square
“This will allow the existing toilets to empty into updated septic, but
there will not be enough capacity for public use beyond the current
limited use by employees,” Bradley said.
Since 1918, Ocracoke’s Community Square has been the heart of the
island’s maritime heritage, a welcoming gathering place for watermen,
merchants, students, locals and tourists alike.
The Foundation purchased Community Square in November 2013 with two
loans totaling $1.6 million, half each from The Conservation Fund (TCF)
and a Private Donor.
“TCF was recently repaid, thanks to generous donations, large and
small, from many of you, and a partnership loan from TowneBank,”
Bradley said. “We will continue raising funds to secure debt free
ownership over the next two years. This will enable us to direct rental
income into a Community Fund to benefit island needs, and to preserve
the five National Register Historic structures and two docks.”
To assist the Foundation in securing this iconic area of Ocracoke
Village, donations may be sent to The Ocracoke Foundation, P.O. Box
1689, Ocracoke, NC 27960-1689.
Contact information is as follows: [email protected], and the website is here.