New pier makes sense

Published 7:15 pm Thursday, March 17, 2016

The pier at Havens Gardens is showing its age and needs replacing. That’s just might happen, if the city can find the money to build a new pier at the waterfront park.

Many anglers have used the pier in efforts to catch fish. Others used the pier as a platform from which to watch sunrises and sunsets on the Pamlico River. Then there are those who walk to the end of the pier and let the water calm them. A newer pier with some amenities such as cutouts, from which handicapped people could fish, would make the pier experiences that much better.

This is a project the city and its residents should get behind. It would enhance the public access to the river that already exists at Havens Gardens. With all the playground improvements coming to the waterfront park, an outdated, worn pier would look out of place.

Earlier this week, the city took a first step toward building a new pier when it authorized the city’s parks and recreation manager to submit an application for a $93,000 grant from the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program. If the grant were awarded, the city would be required to provide a 10-percent match toward the new pier. That’s a small investment by the city that would pay significant benefits to area residents and visitors.

The city’s renewed interest in Havens Gardens is making the waterfront park a more attractive park. For several years, the city has been moving forward with plans to make the waterfront park one of the city’s best places for recreation.

Other proposed improvements at Havens Gardens include a loop walking trail west of the parking lot, a shelter on the west end of Havens Gardens so it overlooks the Pamlico River, a fenced-in play area for small children and adding facilities for a splash park, bocce and beach volleyball. A kayak launch at the adjacent boat ramps is in the works.

Recently, the wheel at Havens Gardens was relocated so equipment for the Play Together playground can be installed to make the park more accessible for disabled or handicapped children, according to Kristi Roberson, the city’s parks and recreation director.

There’s no guarantee the city will be awarded the grant. If the grant is not awarded, the city should seek other funding sources to help pay for building a new pier at Havens Gardens. It’s the right thing to do.