An important investment

Published 7:35 pm Thursday, July 5, 2018

Havens Gardens is getting a new fishing pier. Bug House Park is in line for some improvements. The Susie Gray McConnell Sports Complex is getting a new concession/restrooms building at the soccer area.

Those projects and others like them are evidence that recreational and sports activities are booming in Washington and that the city government recognizes the importance of those activities to its residents.

Take the Washington Optimist Club’s youth soccer program, which is expected to serve about 500 children this fall. The new concession/restrooms facility replaces the one that was torn down. The new facility will enhance a soccer program that’s proven its worth to the community.

Last month, the City Council authorized city staff to solicit money from the community to pay for a $10,000 plan to provide Bug House Park a makeover. The plan would be developed by a group of East Carolina University students.

The city has been discussing the Bug House Park tennis courts (not usable in their existing condition) and exploring related options for improving the park for several years.

“It’s going to be a plan that says you can phase it in over X number of years and this is how much you can choose depending on how much money is available for it,” City Manager Bobby Roberson said at the council’s June 11 meeting.

The new fishing pier will replace the existing one that’s showing its age. The new pier will be friendlier to disabled people.

The new pier will be paid for with a combination of grant money and city dollars. The city received an $83,700 grant from the Coastal Area Management Act’s public-access program to help pay for the pier. The grant required the city to provide $16,425 toward the project.

These projects, once completed, should provide city residents and others enhanced or new recreational and sports facilities to use and enjoy for years to come. They also should enhance the active lifestyles that many area residents enjoy. That will make Washington even more attractive to people born, raised and living here and newcomers.

The money being spent on these projects is money well spent.