Conservancy proposes funds for island playground

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By Kathryn Jacewicz, Staff writer

OCEAN ISLE BEACH—A new place to play may be in the near future on Ocean Isle Beach.

Patsy Calhoun, board member of the Ocean Isle Beach Conservancy, approached the board of commissioners at its Tuesday meeting, proposing a small playground be built on the island.

The Conservancy has been “thinking about a way to enhance the family use of our island,” Calhoun explained, and thought a playground would be a positive addition to the beach.

“We felt it was needed with the family atmosphere we have here on the island,” she said.

Calhoun compared the desired playground to one in Harbour Town in Hilton Head.

“We don’t want it in your face,” Calhoun explained of the equipment. “We wanted it to be something natural in keeping with the area.”

Calhoun said the Conservancy thought a good place for a play area would be on the beachfront property directly behind the Ocean Isle Beach Community Center, near the Monroe Street beach access.

“We looked at several locations and thought that the best location would be on the beachfront there,” Calhoun said.

The Conservancy would also donate all playground equipment and finance the project, Calhoun said.

Town Administrator Daisy Ivey said representatives from CAMA said the beachfront lot would not be approved, due to space requirements.

Commissioner C.D. Blythe said the town owns land between Third Street and the Museum of Coastal Carolina and said that may be ample space for a playground.

“There is just a possibility,” he said. “The beach thing sounds great to me, too, [but] there’s another location there that would tie right in there with parking.”

Calhoun requested a committee be formed with officials from the town as well as the Conservancy, so they could find areas that would meet all state regulations and allow playground equipment. The company can build each playground to specification requirements, she said.

“We are not opposed to any place we can work out together,” Calhoun said.

“This is a win-win situation,” commissioner Dean Walters added. “I think it’s a great idea, and I’m excited about the possibility.”

Mayor Debbie Smith asked Ivey to appoint some town representatives to the committee and was in favor of the project.

“It is a great idea, and it would be a great asset to the town,” she said.