2007: A gratifying, timely year for Swan Quarter
Published 9:19 pm Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Projects helping Hyde County seat recover from storm
By DOUG GIBBS
Daily News Correspondent
SWAN QUARTER — Hurricane Isabel devastated the community of Swan Quarter a little more than four years ago. With the completion of the new government and public-safety centers, Hyde County officials and residents are looking for the county seat to begin growing and prospering again.
During the dedication of the Hyde County Government Center on Dec. 14, state Sen. Marc Basnight, president pro tempore of the N.C. Senate, remarked, “Today is a new beginning for the people of Hyde County to be successful. Today, we recognize the hard work of the people of the county to bring their lives back together from the storms.”
Charles Ray Spencer, chairman of the Hyde County Board of Commissioners, is optimistic about the future of the county seat. According to Spencer, a new public park will benefit the community. The new park will be built with funds the county has received from a Coastal Area Management Act grant. The park will feature a walking trail and observation deck overlooking the Pamlico Sound.
Spencer is excited to see more homes being elevated in the Swan Quarter area. He would also like to see the historic courthouse put to some good use. The chairman also hopes that grants become available in the future so they can be used to help small businesses in Swan Quarter.
Lora Byrd has served as the county’s register of deeds since 1978.
She remarked, “After being displaced for four years, it is good to have the county offices together again. The new government center is a nice building to work in. Hurricane Isabel took a toll on the citizens of Hyde County, but once again we have persevered, and once again it has paid off. Personally, I would like to thank everyone for their patience and the commissioners past and present for their hard work”
County Planner Alice Keeney remarked, “We are on the road to recovery. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done. We are open, and ready for business.”
Sheriff David Mason indicated the new public-safety center is convenient for him and others because all county offices are located there. However, Mason is not optimistic about the possibility of opening the new county jail any time soon. Mason believes that the operation of the county jail could add 12 to 14 cents (per $100 valuation) to the county’s property tax rate. The sheriff doesn’t believe other counties would house inmates in the new facility.
Jeffery Stotesberry, chief of the Swan Quarter Volunteer Fire Department, praised the Firemen’s Insurance Fund for helping the department recover from its losses after Hurricane Isabel. He believes Swan Quarter is on the road to recovery.
Construction of the segment of the Swan Quarter Watershed Dike built to protect the village was completed Sept. 28, 2007. Billy Williams served as contract officer for the project. The elevation of the dike is 6.7 feet. Parts of Landing Road and Oyster Creek Road were elevated to 6.7 feet. Williams has worked on the project since he retired and moved back to the county in 1978.
Rodney Woolard, with the Beaufort/Hyde Farm Service, has been involved with the dike project for a long time.
He remarked, “I have been involved with the project off and on since 1985. The main purpose of the dike is to protect farmland and the village from salt-water intrusion.”