Getting an improved look

Published 7:12 pm Thursday, October 2, 2014

A labor of love


It’s heartening to see Washington preparing to move ahead with something it started several years ago — giving the much-used Havens Gardens a much-needed makeover.

Because of its waterfront location at the east end of the city (it’s not as busy and bustling as the waterfront along the city’s downtown), Havens Gardens is a popular spot with fishermen and families with small children. The fishermen, well, they fish. The children, well, they play.

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, will consider awarding a contract not to exceed $7,200 to Susan Suggs to update the master plan for improvements at Havens Gardens. The city plans to use grant money to pay for that updated master plan. And grant funds are likely in the formula when it comes to paying for some of the improvements and additions that Suggs suggests for Havens Gardens, the city’s oldest park.

Improving Havens Gardens, and other areas in the city, is one of Mayor Mac Hodges’ priorities.

“We’re working on hard on Havens Gardens. There’s a people’s pier we found a grant for. It will be coming up at the Jan. 13 meeting,” Hodges said late last year. “We’re looking at a couple of grants. … I think we’re going to replace the bulkhead at Havens Gardens. … It’s next on the radar, especially if we can get some of these grants to go through.”

An updated site-specific plan for Havens Gardens is needed to apply for a Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant to help pay for completing the project, according to a city document.

Suggs suggests moving the Havens Gardens parking lot south of N.C. Highway 32 westward to provide more open area at the east end of the park. She also recommends adding a loop walking trail west of the parking lot. Other suggestions include building a shelter on the west end of Havens Gardens so it overlooks the Pamlico River, provide a fenced-in play area for small children and adding facilities for a splash park, bocce and beach volleyball.