Belhaven vying to be an All-America City

Published 4:36 am Thursday, October 16, 2008

By Staff
Town currently has 21 projects in the works
Staff Writer
BELHAVEN — At the Town Council’s regular meeting Monday, councilman Mac Pigott asked town officials if Belhaven had an “official” theme song. When Belhaven Mayor Adam O’Neal and Town Manager Guinn Leverett responded that, in fact, the town did not, Pigott suggested that its “official” theme song should be “The Locomotion.”
During the council meeting, O’Neal listed 21 projects currently slated on the town’s agenda. Among these projects are Wynne’s Gut Gateway, the breakwater replacement and stormwater repairs.
The mayor claimed that many small towns around the country are not working on any such improvement and restoration projects, let alone 21.
For this reason, O’Neal and Leverett asked for the council’s endorsement to apply for the All-America City Award, given annually by the National Civic League to 10 cities in the United States.
With so many projects in motion, Leverett said, “(The town) will stack up probably very well.”
O’Neal said that winning such a prestigious award would rightfully “bring attention to the town.”
To help with the historical restoration of the town, the council on Monday night appointed Russell Johnston, 87, as the official town historian.
Johnston, a Belhaven native, “has a nice sense of putting things in perspective,” said Leverett.
The suggestion to appoint a town historian came from O’Neal, said the town manager.
A great deal of the town’s heritage is found in the oft-neglected Black Bottom Cemetery.
To kick off the restoration process at the cemetery, the town will be unveiling the grave marker honoring “Little Eva” Boyd. The unveiling ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. on Nov. 8. Several of Boyd’s surviving family members will be on-hand to speak about the soul singer’s life and death.
The mayor said that before receiving the donated gravestone Boyd had little more than an insignificant marker.
A project being done by the North Carolina Department of Transportation that will have a positive impact on Belhaven is the replacement of the Pantego Creek Bridge.
The bridge replacement is slated to be completed by 2011.
As part of the replacement, the town sent in a request to the DOT to maintain the current Pantego Creek Bridge as a fishing pier.
The town manager expects the DOT to demolish at least a portion of the bridge, but thinks the department will leave some as a pier.
And with the town’s second budget amendment of Fiscal Year 2008-2009, it received $3,000 in funding to repair the town hall steeple. The $3,000 was given back to the town by the John A. Wilkinson Foundation, which received the funding from the town as part of the fiscal year budget.
O’Neal expects at least nine or 10 of the current projects to be completed by the end of 2009.