A new year

Published 7:05 pm Wednesday, December 31, 2008

By Staff
of opportunities
With a new year just hours away, perhaps some resolutions for that new year should be explored.
The Beaufort County Board of Commissioners should resolve to find a resolution to the problem of an overcrowded, aging jail that is in need of being replaced. After years of talk, it is time for action. Make a decision, a sensible one, to solve the problem, then see to it that decision is carried out.
Perhaps 2009 will be the year the Hyde County Board of Commissioners can decide what to do with that county’s new jail, which is not in use because there is not money to operate the detention facility. Talk about a waste of money. If there was no money to operate the new jail, then why build it? If there was a need for the new jail because the older jail was inadequate and needed replacement, why didn’t county officials find funds to open the new jail and staff it properly?
Hyde County taxpayers should hold their county officials accountable for a severe lack of foresight.
Washington’s City Council, although facing another upcoming fiscal year that promises to provide some financial challenges, must continue its pursuit of a harbor-management plan, the Tar River Nature Park and an improved Havens Garden.
The harbor-management plan is needed to provide more protection to the city’s waterfront, which many people consider one of its greatest assets, if not its greatest asset. As soon as possible, sometime in 2009 would be nice, the city should approve and implement such a plan.
Several council members have talked about the need to make sure the city provides public access to the Pamlico-Tar River. That can be done with the Tar River Nature Park, which has been on the drawing board for more than two years. This is a proposed project that must move from talking about it to acting on it.
Any progress on this proposed project would be welcome.
The overall project, which will provide shoreline access to the public, calls for a building that would have restrooms, an area for exhibits and an area that would be used to store rental kayaks and provide office space. In addition to a 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 project may have to be built in phases as money for it becomes available, city officials have said.
That would be acceptable. Completing the first phase of a multi-phase project would provide the public some confidence in the city’s ability to make good on the issue of providing public access to the water.
A master plan for the remake of Havens Garden is in the works. The idea is to make the waterfront park more user-friendly. The replacement of the existing bridge over Runyon Creek will provide the city an opportunity to fix some problems at the park.
The new year of 2009 will present local governments plenty of opportunities to make progress on some projects and correct problems.
Those governments must take advantage of those opportunities. They owe that much to the taxpayers who will pay the bills for these projects.