Published 1:37 am Sunday, August 21, 2011
Some things bear repeating, and our words four years ago encouraging the City of Washington to get on with building the Tar River Nature Park (the working title of the proposed project back then) fit that category.
During its meeting Monday, the City Council is expected to discuss a wilderness park, according to a tentative agenda for that meeting. Well, consideration of a wilderness park is nothing new. It’s been talked about for at least five years.
It’s time for less talk and more action, not that there hasn’t been action on the matter.
In February 2009, the city declined a grant agreement that would have given the state a conservation easement on 220 of the acres that are part of the proposed 275-acre park. Council members said then they didn’t want the 220 acres under such an easement because it would restrict what the city can do with the property.
The city’s concerns have merit, but so does the park proposal.
With the loss of Whichard’s Beach and Griffin’s Beach as public-access points to the Pamlico River several years ago, it was pleasing to see the city pursuing the Tar River Nature Park project, which would provide public access to the river.
For those who don’t know, the Pamlico River and Tar River are the same body of water. It’s the Tar River west of the U.S. Highway 17 Business bridge at Washington. It’s the Pamlico River east of that bridge. The park is proposed for the Tar River segment of that body of water.
Plans called for the park to have a building that would have restrooms, an area for exhibits and an area that would be used to store rental kayaks and provide some office space. Along with a fishing pier and picnic facilities, other proposed improvements to the land include a wooden bulkhead, boat ramp, gazebo, restrooms, shoreline walkway, parking area, lighting and trash receptacles.
Indeed, that would be a special place. With the loss of two important pieces of its history, Beaufort County, which includes Washington residents, could use a new special place.
The park would make the county even more special.
Yes, it will cost money to build it.
Can we afford not to build it and help preserve that area?