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Park project scaled back

By Staff
Building removed from initial plans to improve property
By MIKE VOSS
Contributing Editor
Preliminary engineering for a project to improve Riverfront Nature Park indicates bids to build part of that project would be higher than the amount of money budgeted for those initial improvements.
The city received a $100,000 Coastal Area Management Act grant, awarded by the N.C. Division of Coastal Management, to help pay for site improvements and a building that would house restrooms and storage facilities at Riverfront Nature Park, which is on city-owned land at the southern foot of the U.S. Highway 17 bridge across the Pamlico-Tar River. The city is providing $30,000 in cash and in-kind contributions for the project
In light of that determination, Washington’s City Council on Monday authorized City Manager James C. Smith to seek an amendment of the grant. That amendment would remove the proposed building from the project, leaving the site improvements to be paid for with the grant and city’s money.
The council decided the city will seek additional money to build the restrooms and storage facilities sometime later. The city plans to seek that money during an upcoming grant cycle.
According to Rivers &Associates, the building and parking-lot improvements, which include landscaping work, would have cost about $270,000. The cost to construct the building was estimated at $134,750, according to a report from Rivers &Associates, an engineering firm that does work for the city. The firm was awarded a $16,537 administrative contract to help plan the project.
The estimated cost for site and landscaping improvements comes to $103,000, according to the report.
The overall, proposed Riverfront Nature Park project, which will provide shoreline access, calls for building a fishing pier and picnic areas. Project plans also call for a building that would have restrooms, an area for exhibits and an area that would be used to store rental kayaks and provide some office space.
Along with the fishing pier and picnic facilities, proposed improvements to the land include a wooden bulkhead, boat ramp, gazebo, restrooms, shoreline walkway, parking area, lighting and trash receptacles. The city also has plans for streetscape improvements extending 1,500 feet from the south end of the bridge. Those improvements include the following:
Because the city recognizes the need for public access to waterways, the city is pursuing its shoreline-access program, Bobby Roberson, the city’s planning and development director, said earlier this year. That program has two components, a five-year element and a 20-year element. As money becomes available, the city will implement projects and programs called for in the short-term and long-term components of the program, he said.