Town Awarded Significant Grant for Playground

THE TOWN WAS recently awarded a $225,000 grant from Trillium Health Resources for the construction of an all-inclusive playground at the new Sen. Jean Preston Memorial Park, to be located adjacent to the Emerald Isle Public Boating Access Facility. The new park will include playground components designed to serve children of all abilities, including those with special needs and/or served by wheelchairs. The town is grateful for these grant funds, and looks forward to providing a first-class play experience in a beautiful soundfront setting.

The new Sen. Jean Preston Memorial Playground will also include a new wooden walkway connecting to the existing soundfront pier and nearby restrooms, a new parking area and attractive landscaping. Construction is expected to occur in March, April and May, with a planned opening date of May 25 – the late Sen. Preston’s 81st birthday.

New Beach Vehicle Ramp Gates Installed

As part of our efforts to continually improve the aesthetic appearance of the town, new beach vehicle ramp gates were recently installed at the Ocean Drive “Dog-Leg” ramp, Black Skimmer Drive ramp and The Point ramp. The new gates are a more durable and attractive painted steel and replace older wire/sign gates. Similar gates are in place at the Eastern Ocean Regional Access, and the town hopes to gradually include the new gates at all town park facilities.

Three Beach Access Walkways Currently Being Replaced

The town maintains more than 60 public beach access walkways, and strives to replace at least three each year. Each walkway is inspected throughout the year, and annual ratings are assigned each winter. The board of commissioners recently approved contracts for the replacement of existing walkways at 18th Street, Bryan Street and Nina Street, as these three are in greatest need of replacement. We hope to have the new walkways complete by April, in time for the warmer weather!

FY 16-17 Budget Process Underway

The board of commissioners recently held its annual budget planning workshop for FY 16-17 and discussed its budget priorities for FY 16-17 and beyond. Town staff will be working hard to develop a Recommended Budget that incorporates the board’s priorities, which include maintaining the town’s current General Fund tax rate of 15.5 cents (14 cents for general operations and 1.5 cents for beach nourishment activities), which remains the second lowest tax rate among the 21 oceanfront municipalities in North Carolina. The town manager’s Recommended Budget will be presented to the board on May 10, and the board is expected to adopt a new FY 16-17 budget at its June 14 meeting.

NCDOT Presents Additional Info on Roundabouts

NCDOT officials attended the February town meeting and presented additional information about traffic roundabouts to the board and the public. The town continues to research the potential benefits and concerns about roundabouts, which are being considered as a replacement for traffic signals at the Coast Guard Road, Emerald Plantation, Mangrove Drive, and Bogue Inlet Drive intersections along Hwy 58 in the future. NCDOT will complete additional work and will further refine any planned improvements (which may alternatively include turn lane and/or traffic signal improvements) in the coming months. To its credit, NCDOT has indicated its desire to work in partnership with the town on any future traffic improvements, and noted that it will only pursue improvements supported by the town.

To view the NCDOT presentation, please visit

www.emeraldisle-nc.org/%E2%80%9Cpresentation-%E2%80%93-roundabouts%E2%80%9D-by–jim-dunlop-ncdot-congestion-management-engineer.

Dedicated Website for 2016 Comprehensive Plan

The steering committee for the 2016 Comprehensive Plan/Land Use Plan Update held its first meeting in February, and will be working hard over the next year to provide and secure meaningful public input into the new plan for Emerald Isle’s future. A special website for the planning effort has been created, and can be viewed at www.emeraldisle-nc.org/ or directly at www.planei.org. The special website will include all information associated with the new plan, including meeting dates, meeting minutes, draft policies and maps and more. The town will be conducting an online survey in the coming months, and we urge everyone who cares about the future of Emerald Isle to participate. More details will be provided in future editions of Emerald Tidings.

New Flood Maps Delayed Again

As noted previously, new flood insurance rate maps have been developed for Emerald Isle, and will be used in the future to determine flood insurance premiums and regulatory requirements. Overall, the new maps appear to be very favorable for Emerald Isle, however, some properties may be negatively impacted. The town was recently informed by the State that the release of the new maps has been delayed until June 30, 2016. The Town will provide additional information about the new maps at that time.

Save the Dunes Initiative 2016 – Volunteers Needed

The Save the Dunes Initiative begins its second season, continuing its efforts to enhance our dune structure and raise awareness of the importance of our dunes. Save the Dunes is now seeking additional volunteers to assist with dune planting efforts in April and May. The work is not hard, the people are friendly and the rewards are great!

The first 2016 project features planting another 1,500 sea oats at The Point vehicle ramp with target dates of April 13-14. If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Paul Schwartz (pschwartz@ec.rr.com) or Carl Klee (carlrklee@gmail.com).

Homeowner’s associations and individual homeowners that are interested in rebuilding their dunes should contact Carla Stevens (carlastvns@gmail.com; 252-764-2160) or Kevin Geraghty (kevin.e.geraghty@gmail.com; 919-697-7636). The HOA or the individual homeowner will act as project coordinator for their project, will be responsible for the purchase of the plants needed and will receive guidelines and labor from the Save the Dunes team.

Plans Approved for Additional Renovation

Expansion at The Islander Suites

The Islander Suites recently received Town approval for the renovation of the north building (registration and meeting space) and construction of a new second story with 20 additional rooms. The renovation/expansion will make the north building’s exterior consistent with the south building, and will enhance the attractive appearance of this oceanfront hotel. Work will occur throughout 2016, but The Islander Suites will remain open, with minimal construction impacts expected for guests.

The town is pleased to see The Islander Suites renovation/expansion move forward, and continues to work with property owners in the entire Islander Drive area to promote quality redevelopment in the future.

Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon

and 5K Races – Saturday, April 9

The 3rd annual Emerald Isle Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K Races will be held on Saturday, April 9 at the Western Ocean Regional Access. The full marathon begins at 6:15am, followed by the half-marathon at 8:15am and the 5K race begins at 8:30am. The 2015 races attracted nearly 1,600 runners and raised $50,000 for heart charities and the Emerald Isle bike path, and we hope to surpass those totals in 2016!

The 2016 races will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Emerald Isle bike path. Start your training now, and sign up at www.emeraldislerun.com.

Purchase Your Own Emerald Isle Logo

Nice Matters T-Shirt!

The town has received a very positive response to the new Emerald Isle logo and the new “Nice Matters” tag line. If you’d like to purchase a T-shirt with the new logo and tag line, please visit the Town Administration Building at 7509 Emerald Drive. T-shirts are $15 each, and are available now for purchase. Show your EI pride!

Did You Know?

There are more than 7,000 properties in the Town of Emerald Isle! Town officials truly work hard to consider everyone’s concerns when addressing town issues, as we realize that the town’s success is dependent on the contributions of everyone in our community.

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