Sidewalk project gets OK

Published 6:44 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Staff Writer

BELHAVEN — After years of needing a sidewalk to serve a shopping center next to the U.S. Highway 264 Bypass, the Town Council decided during its meeting Monday night it’s time to get one.
Town Manager Guinn Leverett said the need for a new sidewalk has been a long-standing one. Finally, he said, the town is prepared to remove the sidewalk project from its “to-do” list.
“We’ve been wanting, and needing, a new sidewalk for some time now,” Leverett said. “We actually had a fatality a number of years ago, when a boy died from dodging traffic.”
Leverett said the young man was from the Bronx, N.Y., and he would jump in front of traffic and dodge it.
“I guess it’s something he did up there [Bronx] as a game,” he said. “That was 15 years ago.”
As the need for a sidewalk remains in front of the local Food Lion, which happens to be near a major highway, Leverett said that logging trucks coming off that highway and into the town rarely slow down from their 70-mph speed.
He said the N.C. Department of Transportation budgeted $76,000 to design and build the sidewalk. The town’s portion of the project comes to $15,200, as well as any costs over the $76,000 budgeted for the project by DOT.
The project area consists of approximately 2,380 linear feet of 5-foot-wide concrete sidewalk along the bypass from U.S. 264 Business to the shopping center.
Leverett said the town will be responsible for maintaining the sidewalk after its completion. DOT is responsible for acquiring all permits required for the project.
“Normally, the DOT does not build sidewalks in this manner for towns, but has made an exception,” he said.
In other business, the council approved a three-year deal that will save the town money on its July 4 fireworks shows.
By having its fireworks shows on July 3, the town avoids paying a premium charged for July 4 fireworks shows. Having fireworks shows on July 3 allows the town to obtain a $2,500 discount from Zambelli Fireworks each year for the next three years, for a total savings of $7,500. Instead of paying $10,000 for each show as the town had been doing, the town will now pay $7,500 a show during the three-year period.
“If you factor it over the course of a year, more than 10,000 people saw the fireworks,” Leverett said. “And a lot of families have family reunions here (Belhaven), so it’s a good homecoming, year after year. So, the Fourth of July is very important to the town.”
Robert Turco, a representative of Zambelli Fireworks, said his company is happy to provide the town with the three-year contract that saves the town money.
With more than 10,000 people seeing the fireworks and visiting Belhaven during the July 4 holiday, Leverett said, that brings in tourist dollars that help cover the cost for the annual fireworks display.
What seemed to be the talk of the town at Belhaven’s Town Board meeting was how well the fireworks display on July 3 went off – with a bang!
Last year the Town of Belhaven had their fireworks on July 3 with a crowd multiple times the size of the towns population, that not only brought in friends and family of several Beaufort County natives, but also the dollars and cents of tourists.
“It was great,” said Dr. Guinn Leverett, town manager. “Everyone was tickled pink of the way the show went off this year. There were a variety of fireworks and pyrotechnics.
“We’re committed to friends and family and everyone really enjoyed it.”
Leverett added that there was a premium for having the show on July 4. By having the fireworks display on July 3 the town was able to secure a , costing an estimated $7,500 per year for the three years to follow. However, this year, 2010, the cost of the show was $10,000.
Leverett added that the Town of Belhaven has been having the fireworks display for 68 years, and no one has been hurt during a fireworks display.