Parks and recreation department must have tools it needs to oversee waterways

Published 4:27 am Wednesday, February 18, 2009

By Staff
Now that the Washington Parks and Recreation Department has been given authority over the city’s waterways, the City Council must make sure the department has the resources it needs to carry out that authority.
After spending more than a year looking for a way to protect its waterways and make them safe for boaters and others, the council decided the public waterways, wharves and docks within the city limits will be under the supervision of and subject to regulation by the Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a logical choice.
The department has been managing the city’s docks since they were built. According to many boaters, it is doing a good job looking after boats and boaters at the city docks. Under the proven leadership of city parks and recreation Director Phil Mobley, there is no reason why the department cannot extend that success to the city’s waterways, especially the harbor.
The department is taxed as it is, so if the council wants the department to do another job, it’s up to that body to make sure the department has the tools needed to do the job.
The waterfront is acknowledged by residents and tourists as one of the city’s major assets. It draws sailors and landlubbers. Since being upgraded several years ago, the waterfront is attracting more people than ever.
The harbor and waterfront have become so important to some folks that about four years ago they began talking about the need to protect them and bring some order to use of the waterways in the city. To its credit, the city appointed a committee to develop a harbor-management plan. The committee is putting the final touches on that plan.
The plan’s supporters say they view the city’s harbor as an economic engine to help drive the city toward prosperity and the plan as a way for the city to reclaim its heritage as a maritime hub in the Inner Banks.
With the number of boats visiting the city’s harbor or anchoring in it for shot and long stays, it makes sense for the city to have a harbor-management and water-use plan in place.
We’ve got faith in the Parks and Recreation Department’s ability to protect and preserve that goose that offers so much to the city.