‘They’re almost excited about it, really’

Published 1:35 am Friday, June 29, 2012

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, was given an update on the effort to place new public bathrooms and a dock master’s station at the west end of Stewart Parkway.
Fred Watkins, chairman of the Washington Harbor District Alliance’s maritime team, gave the presentation. The west-end bathrooms and dock master’s station are called for in the redevelopment and revitalization strategy adopted by the city in December 2009. The strategy was developed under the auspices of the Citizens for Revitalization, which conducted a series of meetings to gather the public’s input on revitalizing downtown.
A design concept for public restrooms and a dock master’s facility at the west end of the waterfront promenade was developed for the purpose of seeking grants to pay for the building that would house the restrooms and dock master’s facility. The design of that building attempts to replicate the former Pamlico Point Lighthouse.
The public bathrooms, bathrooms and showers for boaters and laundry facilities for boaters would be in the ground floor of the structure. The dock master’s station would be on the second floor of the structure, Watkins said.
Watkins said state environmental officials have given the initial green light for the projected location of the structure, which is roughly where the flagpole is located.
“There is not going to be a problem with them. They’re almost excited about it, really,” Watkins said. “They were really excited about that new facility. So, we are making some progress.”
Rodman told the council that a $200,000 grant, another $30,000 to $50,000 in grant funds and city funds would be used to pay for the project. Rodman said the city is waiting on contracts and grant agreements from the state, which the council will have to approve and authorize the city manager to sign, before proceeding with the project. Those contracts and grant agreements should be ready in two or three months, Rodman said. They will spell out how much the city is expected to contribute to the project, he said.
Councilman Bobby Roberson, serving as mayor pro tempore because Mayor Archie Jennings did not attend the meeting, asked Rodman to look into the possibility of the city obtaining more grant dollars for the project. Roberson noted that some cities, towns and counties awarded grant funding for projects sometimes return that funding to the state. Sometimes that state redistributes that returned funding to other projects, Roberson noted.
The city spent about seven years discussing the need for permanent restrooms in the Harbor District and where to locate them. Recommended sites for the restrooms came and went. In October 2008, the council narrowed the list of possible locations to three sites — where the temporary bathrooms are located, the public parking area next to the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce and relocating the former Cottage Service Station on West Second Street to a place on Stewart Parkway and converting it into public bathrooms.
Eventually, the Festival Park site and site at the west end of the Stewart Parkway promenade were selected.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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