Seek those grant opportunities

Published 5:11 pm Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Something Washington Mayor Mac Hodges said earlier this week reminded us about the future of Havens Gardens, one of the most popular parks in the Washington area. Hodges mentioned the city is seeking grants to help pay for improvements to the waterfront park at the confluence of the Pamlico River and Runyon Creek.

Havens Gardens, used by fishermen, those on picnics and children using the playground equipment there, does need some sprucing up.

Hodges noted the city is seeking at least two types of grants for the Havens Gardens improvements. One grant program requires the city to contribute 10 percent of the cost of a project. Another grant program provides 100 percent of the funding for a project, with the city not required to provide funding for it.

Those two grant programs would be used to help replace the 50-year-old bulkhead at Havens Gardens, according to Hodges.

Hodges also noted proposed improvements to Havens Gardens go beyond replacing the bulkhead. Back in 2010, Councilman William Pitt endorsed proposed improvements to Havens Gardens, saying they are needed because the park is one of the city’s few public-access areas to the Pamlico River.
In April 2009, the Washington City Council authorized further development of an improvement plan for Havens Gardens. At that meeting, the council endorsed Concept C, the preferred plan for modifying the waterfront park, which abuts the Pamlico River and Runyon Creek.
Since then, the city has been seeking money to implement Concept C, or at least some of its components.
Concept C includes the following features:
• Safer realignment of the Main Street-Hudnell Street intersection and removal of confusing traffic patterns that resulted in additional park area.
• Creation of a landscaped entrance into Washington using park property and the N.C. Department of Transportation right of way.
• A modified layout of the park that includes tree-lined parking, walkways, a boardwalk connecting the north and south sides of the park, picnic shelters and fishing piers.
• Improved walkways near the park that connect neighborhoods, Jack’s Creek greenway and public facilities such as Veterans Memorial Park.

Havens Gardens deserves the proposed improvements as much as the city’s downtown waterfront area deserved being enhanced by Festival Park. The city should pursue all grant possibilities when it comes to improving Havens Gardens.