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Belville making connection to Brunswick River Park

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By Brian Slattery

LELAND — Belville’s town board was down to only two commissioners for Monday night’s January town meeting.

Commissioner Charles Bost’s resignation in December left the town board with a seat that won’t be filled until February and Mayor Pro Tem Donna Schardien was absent from the Jan. 27 meeting.

Board members Joe Breault and Noreen Slattery did not come down on opposite sides of any agenda items, so Mayor Mike Allen did not have to deliver any tiebreaking votes.

The commissioners didn’t receive any bad news to cause a split vote at Monday’s meeting as the night began with an audit report stating the town was able to add $250,000 into its fund balance, raising it to $1.3 million.

Belville saw revenues of $804,000 and only spent $550,000 in 2012-13 to improve the financial situation.

The town also received good news from the ABC Board. Chairman Howard Armistead told the commissioners after sales in 2012-13 reached $2.6 million, they have made sales of $1.5 million in the first five months of 2013-14.

Armistead said the town has paid off the costs of building a new ABC Store so the town will receive a check for $100,000 by the end of the week to add to its revenues.

Brunswick River Park

The board also began taking an active role in decisions regarding Brunswick River Park now that Brunswick County has turned over operation to Belville.

The board approved requests from the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and the Leland Tourism Development Authority to host events in the park.

The chamber will host the North Carolina Rice Festival, set for Sept. 20-21.

The Leland TDA will host two events as part of the second annual Brunswick Waterfest.

There will be a stand-up paddleboard race and kayak tours June 6-7, then a saltwater fishing tournament and kayak tours Sept. 26.

Breault also announced the town would hold its first Founders Day event in seven years at the park May 10.

The event will bring a chuck wagon, provided by the Easy Does It Ranch, to prepare full meals that will be sold for $8 for adults and $5 for children younger than 12.

The Founders Day will also include pony rides, an inflatable slide and other activities.

The town has $3,100 in the budget for the event and commissioners approved another $2,000 to cover all the anticipated costs.

The town officials had one requirement in mind when approving each event: ensuring Belville is included on the marketing.

“We want to see the name prominently in the news releases. We want the park to be used and the more it’s used the better it will reflect on us,” Slattery said.“While the park is in Belville, we want everyone to use it and we want to get our name out there.”

Riverwalk

Breault announced the town’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund application is on its way to Raleigh, but the commissioners still had a little work to do at the town meeting.

The board voted to adopt the Riverwalk master plan, which includes the environmental reviews the town had to perform to determine if they could move forward with developing the boardwalk, pier and businesses on the site next to Brunswick River Park.

The master plan also includes the proposed design for the project.

“This is a guiding document, not a construction document. It is still a work in progress and is constantly evolving.

Approving the master plan was a requirement for the PARTF grant application.

Breault said the PARTF projects that are selected for funding will be announced in May.

While the town officials wait on the state decision, Breault said the Riverwalk advisory board will create a cleanup crew to work on removing rubbish and brush in anticipation of receiving the grant.

He added the cleanup will be volunteer only and will not cost the town any money.

The town will spend $288 on a vinyl banner identifying the location of the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park to let residents know the Brunswick River Park is also part of the town of Belville now.

 

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.