The city of New Bern has about $8 million at its disposal to spend on the Stanley White Recreation Center, which has sat unused and moldering while awaiting decisions on its fate since it was flooded during Hurricane Florence in September 2018.
Some city leaders say the existing facility is too vulnerable to flooding. Rebuilding it would be putting good money after bad. In fact, the city had just put $1 million into the facility just before Hurricane Florence.
To move things forward, the city spent about $440,000 to purchase several lots between Broad Street, Gaston Boulevard, Third Avenue, and Elm Street.
Mayor Dana Outlaw and Alderman Jeff Odham have led this effort, hoping to build a new recreation center facing Broad Street, or at least with better access off Broad Street, that would be out of the flood plain and have easier access to users from outside the Duffyfield Community.
Proponents of moving the building (and making it much larger and versatile) say it is virtually impossible to rebuild it in place, saying it will cost the city $700,000 a year in flood insurance, that the facility won’t be available as an evacuation center, and that because it would have to be built on stilts (pilings, actually), there would have to be a long stairway to the entrance and an even longer handicap ramp.
That’s what happens when you paint yourself into a verbal corner, then build arguments to support it while avoiding any possible options.
I have another idea.
Putting a rebuilt center on pilings has a lot of disadvantages, but it has one advantage in supporting Outlaw/Odham’s plan: because the pilings are part of the structure, it will remain subject to flooding.
They say it would be expensive to use earth to raise the foundation, adding that including the parking lot in the raised foundation would be cost-prohibitive.
But raising the foundation with earth does something else: because it is not part of the structure but actually raises the building’s elevation, it puts the facility outside the flood zone and would negate the need for flood insurance.
Including the parking lot in the raised elevation (something much easier to do because it is just a parking lot and not a building) would put the entrance at ground level, negating the need for long steps and a handicap ramp.
Rainwater runoff from this raised elevation can drain into a retention pond created within the boundary of Henderson Park. This retention pond can be designed and landscaped to become an amenity, with a walking trail around it along with benches, chess tables, decorative lighting, etc.
The remainder of Henderson Park would be shifted from two soggy ball fields, to a leisure area of covered and uncovered picnic areas with grills, benches, grassy fields, restrooms, and a concession stand.
The acreage recently acquired by the city facing Broad Street can become an active recreation area, such as an outdoor basketball arena, parking, and a leased restaurant facility.
The entire campus can be well suited for seasonal and annual events and festivals.
Tropical Storm Arthur is centered at 2 p.m. EDT about 310 miles (500 km) south-southwest of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
It’s moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph (15 km/h). A turn toward the northeast with an increase in forward speed is expected to occur during the next 24 to 48 hours.
On the forecast track, Arthur will remain well offshore of the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina today and tonight, and then move near or just east of the coast of North Carolina on Monday. Arthur is forecast to turn away from the east coast of the United States Monday night and Tuesday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph (75 km/h) with higher gusts. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) from the center. Some gradual strengthening is forecast to occur during the next 24 to 36 hours. Arthur is likely to lose tropical characteristics on Tuesday.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Surf City to Duck, North Carolina, including Pamlico and Albemarle Sound. Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area on Monday.
Arthur is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over coastal North Carolina tonight and Monday, with locally higher amounts.
Swells generated by Arthur are affecting portions of the southeast U.S. coast and are expected to spread northward along the U.S. mid-Atlantic coast during the next day or two. These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions across much of the U.S. southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts. Please consult products from your local weather office – www.weather.gov
The next complete advisory will be issued by NHC at 5 p.m. EDT-hurricanes.gov
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is awarding the City of New Bern a $5,629,986.75 million grant to repair damage to the Stanley White Recreation Center from Hurricane Florence.
Senator Thom Tillis’ office met with officials from the city of New Bern on the funding request and pushed FEMA to award the grant.
“New Bern suffered widespread damage from Hurricane Florence, including severe damage to the Stanley White Recreation Center,” Tillis said. “I am proud to have worked with the city of New Bern to advocate this grant so we can begin repairs to this important community staple.”
The facility was severely damaged by Hurricane Florence and has been close since September 2018.
It was an integral part of nearby neighborhoods as well as sports programs city-wise.
Because of the location’s propensity to flooding, there was some talk about the facility closing for good and a new facility being built elsewhere, something that has not sit well with communities surrounding Stanley White RC.
This grant money seems to stiffen the city’s resolve to keep Stanley White RC where it is.
Habitat for Humanity of Craven County committed to repairing 44 homes in the wake of Hurricane Florence and the unparalleled damages that struck our community through the neighborhood revitalization program. To date 22 homes have been completed in Craven and Jones County. We are honored to have an opportunity to partner with families who are still trying to recover from Hurricane Florence. As a result of partnering, these families who had no other means or support to repair their homes are now in safe, healthy housing.
Habitat for Humanity of Craven County is proud to announce the recent completion of four homes through the program. Homeowners in Duffyfield, Sunnyside and western Craven county were assisted. Project tasks included repairs to flooring, windows, roofs, gutters, sheetrock, decking and access ramps.
One homeowner in the Pembroke community, Ms. Lillie Brimmage, is finally returning home after more than a year of living displaced with family and friends due to Hurricane Florence. Ms. Brimmage is overjoyed to be back in her homeand is ready for life to resume normalcy. The damage to her home was extensive as she took several feet of water inside of her home causing a need for repairs to the roof, heating and cooling systems, insulation, sheet rock, and much more.
Extensive damages are often unexpected and hardworking homeowners can find themselves unprepared to pay large repair costs upfront in the wake of a devastating storm such as Hurricane Florence. That’s where Habitat for Humanity of Craven County steps in and can offer subsidized repayment options for qualified applicants to help recover and bring life back into their own home and subsequently the neighborhood.
Antoinette Boskey, Neighborhood Revitalization Director states that “neighborhood revitalization is all about creating an improved quality of life through holistic community development and empowerment of residents. We understand that when disasters like Hurricane Florence affect a community, rates of marginalization tend to increase amongst vulnerable populations. For this reason, we have focused our efforts on low income families in Jones and Craven counties, partnering with these families and empowering them to be able to take an active role in their individual recovery and the recovery of their community.”
If you are struggling to recover from Hurricane Florence or need assistance with home repairs, please contact our office at 252-633-9599 to learn more about program requirements and how to begin the application process.
Habitat for Humanity of Craven County builds affordable single-family and duplex homes in Craven County and has been actively addressing the affordable housing crisis since 1989. In addition to building new homes, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County also repairs existing homes to keep homeowners in their homes to age in place comfortably or to recover following disasters or unexpected damages. For more than 30 years, Habitat for Humanity of Craven County has assisted more than 100 individuals and families to achieve their dream of homeownership through our affordable housing program andremain in their home through our neighborhood revitalization critical repairs program. In addition to these programs, Habitat for Humanity focuses on educating and empowering potential homebuyers and current homeowners through homebuyer education and disaster preparedness education series.
I noticed that Google Maps satellite photos of New Bern were taken after Hurricane Florence in September 2018, while satellite photos in Apple Maps were taken before the storm. Here are some images that show the difference.
Satellite image shows New Bern Grand Marina, top, and BridgePointe Marina, below.
Satellite image shows New Bern Grand Marina, top, and BridgePointe Marina, below. BridgePointe was severely damaged by Hurricane Florence and has not been put back into service.
The Woodrow neighborhood of New Bern before Hurricane Florence.
This satellite shows numerous houses that were destroyed or so badly damaged that they were razed during or following Hurricane Florence.
The public boat ramp and dock at Lawson Creek Park at the Trent River before Hurricane Florence.
The public boat ramp and dock at Lawson Creek Park at the Trent River after Hurricane Florence. The boat ramp was severely damaged and pushed upriver by the storm. A specialized crew using a construction barge and crane fetched the floating dock and returned it to its original location. The ramp and dock have been put back into service.
The day-use boardwalk and docks at Union Point Park before Hurricane Florence.
The day-use boardwalk and docks at Union Point Park were destroyed during Hurricane Florence and have yet been rebuilt.
An island on the west bank of the Trent River just south of Freedom Memorial Bridge before Hurricane Florence.
An island on the west bank of the Trent River just south of Freedom Memorial Bridge before Hurricane Florence. The satellite image shows significant erosion from the storm, forming a new bay, with a channel shown below and left of the island blocked. The wreckage of a sailboat can be seen just right of center.
The City launched a CodeRED alert to citizens in low lying areas encouraging them to evacuate. Here is the transcript of the CodeRED alert:
This is a CodeRED alert from the City of New Bern. You are located in a flood prone area. Please consider evacuating ahead of hurricane Dorian. City of NB fire and police crews will be in your neighborhood making announcements over a loudspeaker encouraging residents to evacuate. These crews will be accompanied by buses offering transportation to a shelter – either Creekside Elementary School or Ben D. Quinn Elementary.
If you would like transportation to a shelter, please go to the following locations to board the bus. The buses will continue circling these routes, approximately every hour, until 5pm.
The first pickup was at noon for the following locations:
Oakland and Ashland Ave
Oaks andS. Glenburnie
N Glenburnie and TuscanLa
Mourning dove & Deer Path Cir
George St Park
Watson Ave and National Ave
River Drive & Court St
Stanly White Rec Center
Beaufort & Garden St
JT Barber School
Washington & Hazel Ave
Chesapeake & Batts Hill
Batts Hill & Turtle Bay
Batts Hill & Tram
Country Club & Elm Dr
Chestnut & Oscar
Liberty St & Walt Bellamy
Walt Bellamy and Fleet St
Broad St and E Front St.
Riverside and Sandy Point
The following pickups are at 1 pm:
National Guard Armory
Neuse Ave and Asheville St
Beech St and South Carolina Ave
Duffy St and Oaks Rd
Washington and Hazel Ave
Coopers Landing Apts
N Hills and Laurel St
North Hills Ct and Drive
Chestnut and Oscar
EF Thompkins and Charles
Citizens should bring their own pillows, blankets, medication, hygiene items, special foods, baby formula (if needed) and any other special needs items. There may be times that the shelters are without the ability to support medical devices and equipment so portable charging devices are recommended. Pets will be accepted at the Ben D. Quinn Elementary emergency shelter only. No other emergency shelters will allow pets. This shelter accepts cats and dogs only. All pets must be crated & you must bring food and water for them, medications, and rabies certificates. You must remain at the shelter with their pet and are responsible for caring for and cleaning up after their pet. Citizens are prohibited from bringing weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, perishable food items, radios or televisions into an emergency shelter. Small hand-held devices can be used with headphones.
Curfew imposed effective at 11 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5 until 6 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 8, unless in search of medical assistance, food or other commodity of service necessary to sustain the well-being of himself and his family or some member thereof. Read the entire curfew here.
As Hurricane Dorian heads up the Carolina coastline, Duke Energy is projecting it could cause more than 700,000 power outages – some possibly lasting several days – based on the storm’s current forecasted track.
The slow-moving, powerful hurricane will bring tropical-storm-force winds and rain over a large portion of the Carolinas. The company projects power outages are likely to occur Thursday and Friday:
In North Carolina’s Triangle area (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill).
In South Carolina’s Pee Dee region (Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Lee, Marion, Marlboro and Williamsburg).
Along the entire coasts of both North Carolina and South Carolina – extending to communities up to 100 miles inland.
Power outage projections are based on the company’s storm modeling tool, which analyzes storm track, storm size, wind speed, wind-field size, ground saturation and the history of previous hurricanes in the Carolinas.
More than 9,000 power restoration workers in Carolinas
Duke Energy crews will begin repairs as soon as conditions safely allow. Duke Energy is moving an extra 4,000 repair workers from 23 states and Canada to the Carolinas in anticipation of the hurricane’s arrival. The crews will complement the 5,000 Duke Energy lineworkers and tree personnel permanently based in the Carolinas – creating a total workforce of almost 9,000.
Before power can be restored, crews first must assess the extent of damage – which can sometimes take 24 hours or more – to determine which crews, equipment and supplies are needed to expedite repairs. Crews will restore power, where possible, while completing damage assessment.
Trash and recycling pickups have been suspended for Thursday and Friday. Customers on those routes are asked NOT to put their receptacles out as they could become projectiles and could block stormwater drainage.
A new pickup schedule for these routes will be announced later. I’ll let you know what that new schedule is as soon as I get it.
Also, new sandbags are available now at all three sites:
The sandbag locations are:
West NB Rec Center, 1225 Pine Tree Drive (by the ball field)
Stanley White Rec Center, 901 Chapman Street (in the parking lot)