Soundside Walk Considered at Nags Head – The Coastland Times
The Dare County Tourism Board is in the process of planning and approving the stages of a major boardwalk project along the property of the Soundside Event Center in Nags Head.
The proposed boardwalk would start behind the now closed Pamlico Jack property owned by the Tourist Board, connect to the existing boardwalk and lookout, and extend to Harvey Public Sound Access. It would include wide walkways and educational stations “so that people can not only exercise and enjoy the view, but also appreciate what they are looking at,” said Lee Nettles, executive director of the visitors’ bureau. ‘Outer Banks.
The Tourist Office is in discussion with CAMA, US Army Corps of Engineers and NC DEQ to ensure the protection of submerged vegetation; the project is in compliance with obtaining the appropriate permits and approvals from regulatory bodies.
Albemarle & Associates created a conceptual design that incorporates current uses of the Harvey site such as kitesurfing and windsurfing. “It is important for the Tourist Office to preserve this access and these types of uses. We want to be flexible with the design to expand the use, but don’t rule out uses that already exist, ”Nettles said.
In areas currently used for kitesurfing, the design brings the gangway back to shore, so kitesurfers won’t have to maneuver around the access, based on feedback from user groups. Nettles also expect an increase in walk like sail and maybe crab. The Tourist Board provides walkways wide enough that two wheelchairs comfortably cross each other – about 10 feet – rather than the standard 6-foot width.
The idea of extending the walk has been a topic of discussion for some time. According to Nettles, a few years ago the Town of Nags Head was considering this possibility, but “it has gone from the back burner to the back burner. Hopefully our project will kickstart things and attract the community and other stakeholders along the way. “
It is still too early in the planning to determine which facilities will be provided by the Tourist Office and which will be provided by the city, but both parties are committed to preserving existing uses and developing others.
Currently, Duck offers the only major public promenade along the Albemarle Strait. A similar attraction at Nags Head is expected to generate significant interest from locals and visitors alike. There is also a walk along Shallowbag Bay in downtown Manteo.
The project will also be an exterior addition to the Soundside Event Center, a 48,000 square foot building (which Nettles says is about the size of the Publix grocery store and about half the size of the old K-Mart. ) which can host sports tournaments like cheerleading, gymnastics, basketball and pickleball, and possibly concerts and social events.
“I think it will be quite an attraction for this immediate region and for the destination,” Nettles said. “It’s a great place to watch the sunset.”
Although the Tourist Board can apply for grants, the majority of the funding for the promenade will come from the office itself, which receives 1% of the occupancy tax paid by accommodation reservations and 1% of the tax on prepared meals. (City tax is 6%, shared by the county and six cities where reservations are made [3%]beach food [2%] and the Tourist Office [1%].) There is no cost estimate for the walk yet and everything is still pending permits from regulatory agencies, which are overdue due to COVID-19. Assuming the permits are issued, Nettles hopes to finalize a design by the end of spring, develop construction plans and go out to tender next June. Construction could start towards the end of 2022 and finish in the first half of 2023.
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