- Special Sections
- Public Notices
SUNSET BEACH—Timing has delayed a proposed schedule for streetscape improvements for the Sunset Beach island.
At their monthly meeting Jan. 7, town council members considered a request for proposals (RFP) for streetscape designs.
Proposed landscape design work by local golf course architect Tim Cate entails landscaping and parking areas, the sidewalk and a bike path, with “hardscape” work by Michael Norton.
Specifications for construction have also been completed and are part of the RFPs.
The town’s streetscape committee sought to have RFPs approved by council and then sent out for subsequent bidding Jan. 8, with the due date Feb. 11. That will give staff time for review and council discussion at its Feb. 19 retreat. The goal was to have contractors start work the first week in March.
Town staff believed streetscape work could be completed in March, April and May “so there is little or no interference with visitors during the ‘season,’ as long as there are no significant delays” in work by Brunswick Electric, review by NCDOT or with weather, town administrator Gary Parker said.
He also told council there is no guarantee the project can be completed by the end of June.
Estimated costs outlined by Norton are $163,000 for landscaping and $350,000-$400,000 for hardscape work, like paving.
“I was one of the first people who said we need to clean this up,” town councilwoman Karen Joseph said, adding she is concerned with the way initial design work has been done.
“I’d like to see more specifics about the hardscape plan,” she said. “I’m concerned about the timing. No one can control this timing. I’m not going to say, ‘Let’s rip up the road that leads to the island right before Easter.’ If tourists encounter construction on the island, that is not going to bode well for us.”
Estimated expenses are also not in the town’s current 2012-13 budget, Joseph said.
Joseph also expressed concern about landscaping work at the bridge.
“How long have we been waiting on DOT to do the bridge?” Joseph asked. “Wasn’t that supposed to be months and months and months ago? We’ve had a gazillion public hearings on the park and haven’t had one on this.”
Joseph said she supports the work 150 percent.
“I want it to be more beautiful than any of the barrier islands, and I will vote for the money to be allocated,” she said.
Town councilman Wilson Sherrill wondered what the auditor would say about the work not being in the budget. Town finance director Donna Rogers said he would not be happy.
“Even though it’s in [capital improvements], it’s not in our budget,” she said. “I would have to do a budget amendment.”
The Local Government Commission and auditors look at the amount of money for which she has to do budget amendments.
“They’re going to question me on that,” Rogers said.
Town councilwoman Carol Scott said they could have money in the budget starting with the next fiscal budget. She suggested they try to get work approved in April or May, then start hardscape work in September.
Town councilman Lou DeVita expressed concern about road, curbing and landscape work.
Mayor Richard Cerrato asked about having roundabouts to control traffic and speed.
“It just seems to make a lot of sense,” he said.
Scott said she isn’t sure the advantages outweigh disadvantages for that.
During public comment, island businessman and former town councilman Ron Watts said, “We’d love this next week if we could. All are supportive with going ahead and getting it done.”
North Shore Drive resident Nina Marable said she strongly favors proceeding with streetscape work as soon as possible.
Resident Kathryn Hovermale said council would be wise to consider beautification in other parts of town well.
Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.