Proposed project needs completion

Published 7:50 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Something Councilman Doug Mercer said at a recent meeting of the Washington City Council reminded several people about a proposed project at Havens Gardens, a project that should be completed.

This summer will be four years since the opening of the new bridge across Runyon Creek at Havens Gardens. The opening of that bridge opened the way for major improvements to the waterfront park in Washington to begin. Some improvements have been made, others are in the works and some appear to have been forgotten. The improvements happen as the money becomes available.
In April 2009, the Washington City Council authorized further development of an improvement plan for Havens Gardens. Those improvements could not be made while the new bridge was being constructed. At that April 2009 meeting, the council endorsed Concept C, the preferred plan for modifying the waterfront park, which abuts the Pamlico River and Runyon Creek.
The city has been seeking money to implement Concept C, or at least some of its components. That money likely will come in the form of a grant or grants.
Concept C includes improved walkways near the park that connect neighborhoods, Jack’s Creek greenway and public facilities such as Veterans Park. One of those walkways, when built, would be over Runyon Creek, with a segment of it passing under the new bridge. Concrete pilings for the section were driven into the creek when pilings for the new bridge were driven.
Plans call for the walkway to be built over Runyon Creek, with the walkway connecting to land on the west bank of the creek. The walkway, estimated to be about 300 feet long, would be formed something like this bracket: ].
The walkway, which would have observations areas, would connect parts of Havens Gardens that are separated by the highway, allowing pedestrians to move between those areas without crossing the highway. The walkway also would connect boat ramps north of the highway to sections of Havens Gardens south of the highway.

That’s a project that would enhance the Havens Gardens experience. That’s a project that should be taken off the back burner and put on a fast track to completion.

That project’s been simmering for nearly four years. That’s long enough.