Archived Story

Challenges await committee

Published 6:47pm Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Now that the City Council has appointed members to the city’s Waterfront Docks Committee and is moving toward a new management strategy for those docks, there should be an eagerness to get as much return on investment the city has in those docks as possible.

The city’s waterfront along the Pamlico River, the river itself and the waterfront docks are prime assets the city can use to improve its economic-development landscape, including an emphasis on tourism. That emphasis must include attracting more of the boating public to the city’s waterfront, where many of the city’s signature events such as the Summer Festival and Smoke on the Water take place.

The Waterfront Docks Committee — Ray Midgett, Jeffrey Woolard, Charles Hough, Fred Watkins and Doug Doscher — can do much to make the waterfront docks attractive to boaters, whether those boaters are area residents or transient boaters. But their work will go beyond bringing more boaters to the waterfront docks. They will need to make those waterfront docks produce more revenue for the city. There’s no doubt they and others would like to see the waterfront docks become a moneymaker for the city, or at least operate on a break-even basis. It won’t be an easy task to do that, but we believe these committee members have the expertise and desire to accomplish that task.

Back in the spring, the Washington Harbor District Alliance’s maritime panel offered several suggestions concerning the waterfront docks. Those suggestions made sense. City officials and others reviewed those suggestions and liked what they saw.

In addition to recommendation of setting up a separate budget for the waterfront docks, the panel made these recommendations:

• Creation of a part-time dockmaster position to manage staff; market the docks and oversee facility maintenance. The dockmaster would report directly to Rodman.

• Reduction of part-time dock attendants to three positions with one working year-round, one

working seasonalIy and one working peak months.

• Delineation of areas of responsibility for the dockmaster to include the docks and waterfront area, with the Festival Park area remaining under the supervision of the parks and recreation manager.

Under this new management approach, the city’s waterfront docks should prosper. Benefitting the city, area businesses and the boating public.



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