Pier may become part of waterfront

Published 5:12 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Washington’s Historic Preservation Commission, during its meeting Tuesday, will review the city’s proposal to build a pier into the Pamlico River.

The commission will review two sets of plans for the proposed pier, which would be located south of the southern end of Market Street and close to the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce building and On the Waterfront restaurant.

The commission meets at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The proposed pier is a component of a downtown/waterfront revitalization and redevelopment strategy adopted by the city in 2009. Another component, a dockmaster’s facility with public bathrooms and facilities for boaters, is expected to be built this year. Festival Park is a result of that strategy.

Formal work on developing the strategy began in 2008 after the City Council charged the Citizens for Revitalization with developing a strategy.

Some people opposed using city money to hire a consultant to develop the plan, saying they feared it would be just another plan sitting on a shelf at City Hall. Others criticized Citizens for Revitalization for not allowing people with differing views to fully share those views and explain them.
The strategy, developed by LandDesign after input was collected at several public input sessions, called for creating a downtown harbor district that includes activity centers and districts along with a diversity of uses while maintaining the public’s access to the Pamlico River.
The plan called for “investments” to improve the quality of life in Washington, with those investments being made by the public sector, the private sector and public-private partnerships.
Prominent components of the proposed strategy include a waterfront hotel, pavilions for public or private functions, small parks and green spaces and buildings for economic-development uses such as restaurants, a museum, a ship’s store and similar retail uses. It also called for a “festival park” just west of the N.C. Estuarium, a public pier and a gateway to the downtown-waterfront area where Main Street, Stewart Parkway and Gladden Street intersect.

The strategy addresses these key points:
• Finding ways to link Main Street to the Pamlico River.
• Public and private parking areas for expanded commercial activity.
• Create an opportunity for up to $90 million in new “tax-paying” construction and adaptive reuse of existing buildings.
• A premier space such as a performance venue for public use and assembly.
• Promote downtown as the city’s central business district.
• Develop a vehicle/pedestrian traffic circulation plan that connects people with various locations within the downtown/waterfront area.
• Establish a vision and reinvestment strategy that brands Washington’s downtown as a “central business district on the river.”
After adopting the strategy, the council charged Citizens for Revitalization committee with shepherding the strategy toward implementation.

Since, the implantation of the strategy has been handed to the Washington Harbor District Alliance.

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.

email author More by Mike