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SHALLOTTE—The town wants input on shaping its future with its vision plan.
The plan to redevelop Shallotte’s downtown near the riverfront features a gazebo/stage area, a stormwater pond, new trees, a playground, a fountain, expanded parking and the incorporation of existing trees. The park would be between Cheers and Wall streets behind the police and fire stations on about an acre of land.
The first concept plan was created by Allison Platt & Associates based on a 2008 vision plan for the town.
During 2012, the town cleared the way for progress by demolishing the old police station and cleared the lot that housed the former Southend Task Force office.
Alderman Walt Eccard told the board the next step is to get cost estimates.
“To get cost estimates requires more detailed plans than what we have,” Eccard said.
It is estimated it will cost $9,000 for detailed plans and an additional $3,000 for a cost estimate.
Eccard asked if the board was ready to authorize staff to go to the next phase and secure a cost estimate and detailed plans with a limit of $15,000.
“The committee thought it is worth the expenditure of this money to at least have a more informed discussion,” Eccard said.
“Should that take place before we have a public meeting with the concept plan or are we going to take that plan and move forward without any public input?” alderman Alan Lewis asked.
“Clearly you need public input,” Eccard said. “I can see the wisdom that we have a public hearing on what we currently have. I’d like to move to the next step as quickly as possible because I would like the public to see some improvements.”
It was suggested to allow Platt to spearhead a public input session as well as for the town to apply for grants. Platt would also lead the process of creating detailed plans and a cost estimate.
“My caution revolves around history,” Lewis said. “I saw the town, before I was elected, spend $15,000 on a Shallotte River project before a public hearing was held on a boardwalk and in my opinion it was wasted. I just want to make sure we don’t go down that road again.”
“I really want to know what it is going to cost us to get to the end of the road,” alderman Larry Harrelson said.
Board members agreed they were pleased with Platt’s work so far.
The board agreed the next step should be to have a public hearing/forum where the public can learn more about the vision plan and share input.
Town staff was instructed to discuss possible dates and Platt’s availability. The board plans to invite the public to share in the near future.