Improvements on tap at M’boro park

Published 8:42 am Thursday, September 26, 2013

MURFREESBORO – River Street Park here is targeted for a pair of improvement projects.

On the heels of receiving a $30,875 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF), Murfreesboro officials are broadening their efforts to find additional money to make much-needed improvements at the park, located on the northern edge of town.

At their meeting Tuesday night, members of the Murfreesboro Town Council were briefed about a plan that would extend the fishing pier at the park and transform it into a boardwalk.

Town Administrator Brandon Holland told Council members that the Mid-East Commission has been working with CAMA (Coastal Area Management Association) on an access grant for the Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Department.

“What we’re trying to do to expand the fishing pier into a boardwalk,” Holland said. “With CAMA, if you have property that’s next to a body of water, they will provide 90 percent of the funds to complete a (municipal or county) project. With a worse case scenario, I estimate that the costs incurred by the town, with our matching grant, would be less than $5,000 to make this project happen.”

Holland said the deadline for submitting the grant application to CAMA is mid to late October.

“One of the requirements by CAMA is to hold a public hearing concerning this project,” Holland explained. “I would ask the council to set a date for a public hearing and a special meeting, one held prior to our next scheduled meeting (which is not until Oct. 22).”

At that special meeting, Holland said a representative from the Mid-East Commission would be present to explain the grant application and the project in more detail.

“It’s nothing official at this point; we need to first make an application,” he noted. “It would be up for discussion and consideration by Council after you hear from Mid-East and allow the public to have input.”

Holland added that the special meeting, if scheduled, would serve a second purpose – that of holding another public hearing regarding a proposed text amendment to the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for a firing range for the Murfreesboro Police Department.

Councilwoman and Mayor Pro-Tem Sarah Wallace asked if the potential boardwalk would be similar to the one built along the banks of the Chowan River in Winton. Holland said it was similar.

Councilman Hal Thomas motioned to set two public hearings during a special meeting at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 9 at the Municipal Building. That motion was approved without objection. It was also noted that Council may discuss at that meeting several recommendations as proposed by the Murfreesboro Beautification Committee.

In regards to the PARTF grant, Murfreesboro Mayor John Hinton later told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that those funds will be matched 100 percent by the town, making it a $61,750 improvement project at the River Street Park.

“Those funds will be strictly used for the park…we’ve got several ideas we’re in the process of developing, including the possibility of extending the pier/boardwalk from the park all the way to Kings Landing (the old Royster property),” Hinton said.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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