Category: Parks and Recreation

April 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin
City of New Bern News Release

NBPRArtistinResidenceFLYER.JPGNew Bern Parks & Recreation is looking for artists who need studio space.  The Artist in Residence program offers emerging to mid-range local artists the opportunity to work in an open studio with public interaction.  The open studio space is located at 408 Hancock St., formerly the New Bern Firemen’s Museum.

The open studio space, located downtown, gives artists an opportunity to be a part of a growing art scene and to bring culture and vibrancy to our community.  Artists can apply for a rented studio space by completing an application. If approved, they’ll have access to 96 square feet of space with Wi-Fi access included. Rents are currently charged at $175 per month.  Applications and rental requirements are posted on the city website.

“This is a perfect opportunity and a beautiful open space for artists who want to contribute to the community,” said Foster Hughes, Director of Parks & Recreation. “We’re hopeful that artists with talents in multiple disciplines and media will fill the space with creative expression and a spirit of collaboration.”

The Artist in Residence program also gives renters access to exhibition, teaching, and professional development opportunities. The building is fully handicap accessible and all artists are encouraged to apply.  Applicants must be 18 years of age or older to rent space and a commitment to volunteering through docent services or teaching/workshops for the public and youth groups is strongly encouraged.  Space will be awarded to applicants who best demonstrate commitment to their practice and experimentation and innovation in their work.

If you have questions about the Artist in Residence program, studio accessibility, or would like more information, email Foster Hughes, Director of Parks & Recreation.

Posted in New Bern, New Bern business and commerce, Parks and Recreation

March 15th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Preliminary plans have been released for the proposed 850-acre Martin Marietta Park that depict something the size and scope of which would make it one of the most significant municipal parks in the state.

Aldermen, the mayor, staff and advisers will meet upstairs at City Hall at 1 p.m. Monday to discuss the park and a proposed city redevelopment area and commission. (Link to agenda; note that the link has a limited shelf life.)

As depicted in maps, Martin Marietta Park would include a large amphitheater, swimming area, boating area, hiking trails and numerous other features. The plan does not indicate how the city would pay for developing the park.

Posted in Activities, Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Mayor, Parks and Recreation

March 13th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The popular Harry Goodman Battlefield Adventure Day for children is Saturday, March 24 at New Bern Battlefield Park.

A day full of learning activities, period games and living history, it is held annually at the park, which has been recently upgraded by the New Bern Historical Society. The event is for boys and girls ages 6-12 years old and an adult. Check-in begins at 11:30 a.m. with activities from noon to 4:00 p.m.

Young recruits and their parents will be greeted by re-enactors from the 5th N.C. Regiment, the 7th N.C. Regiment and artillery from McCullough Living History. The newly “enlisted” recruits can choose to participate in practice drills or Civil War period activities and crafts. They will also take part in Civil War era games.

Historical Society battlefield guides will provide an informative and entertaining walking tour of the battlefield. A commissary lunch, provided by Moore’s Olde Tyme Barbeque will be served to each young recruit and adult. After lunch, the day’s activities will conclude with a battle re-enactment that includes the children.

Cost is $10 for one child with accompanying adult, plus $5 for each additional child or adult, with a $20 maximum for a family. Special price for active duty military and families qualifying for free/reduced school lunch program.

For more information or to register, call New Bern Historical Society at 252-638-8558 or go register online.

New Bern Battlefield Park is located off U.S. 70 at the entrance to the Taberna subdivision at 300 Battlefield Trail. This program is supported through the generosity of the family of Harry K. Goodman, who was key to the preservation and restoration of the Battlefield Park.

The mission of the New Bern Historical Society is to celebrate and promote New Bern and its heritage through events and education.  Offices are located in the historic Attmore Oliver House at 511 Broad St. in New Bern.  For more information, call 252-638-8558 or go www.NewBernHistorical.org or www.facebook.com/NewBernHistoricalSociety

Posted in Activities, Community, New Bern, Parks and Recreation

March 8th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

New Bern Parks and Recreation is holding a public input meeting on Monday, March 12 to review the proposed Master Plan for Martin Marietta Park.

The meeting will be held at the West New Bern Recreation Center, located at 1225 Pine Tree Drive in New Bern. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. for an informal review of the Plan. A formal presentation will begin at 6 p.m.

During this meeting, results from the previous public input meeting as well as the recent Recreation Needs Survey will be discussed. City staff as well as planning partners, McGill Associates, will be on hand to answer questions.

“McGill Associates took the recommendations received from the previous public input meeting and the Recreation Needs Survey and combined that information into, what we think, will be an exciting park that will draw not only residents, but visitors from all around. I look forward to hearing comments from the public at this meeting.” said City of New Bern Director of Parks and Recreation Foster Hughes.

In September of 2017, Martin Marietta donated 55 acres along South Glenburnie Road to the City of New Bern. These 55 acres complete a contiguous stretch of land and lakes totaling approximately 888 acres that are owned by the City of New Bern.

Martin Marietta’s donation coincides with the city’s vision to create a regional park with multi-recreational opportunities and the potential for an outdoor amphitheater capable of hosting various entertainment and performances.

For additional information on the master plan process, contact Hughes at 252-639-2915.

Posted in New Bern, Parks and Recreation

March 6th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

The late Steve Jobs is often touted as one of the great innovators of the age, but his real genius was in taking ideas from others, tweaking them, and selling them.

Jobs didn’t invent the computer mouse, smart phone or the MP3 player, for example; others came up with those ideas, but his tweaks changed everything.

Taking cues from Steve Jobs, the City of New Bern has gone into he business of taking others ideas, as well.

For example, take the Farmer’s Market.

For $1 per year, the Farmers Market was leasing city-owned land at South Front and Hancock streets coveted by developers. Everyone was happy, the Farmers Market thrived, and neighboring businesses enjoyed the extra foot traffic Farmer’s Market attracted.

Meanwhile, the city was saddled with a blighted piece of property off First Street zoned for heavy commercial use that it will never be able to sell because of decades of accumulated pollutants from the power plant that once stood there.

On a tear to unload surplus property, here was one property the city could not unload, so it sought alternatives.

City officials thought they could kill two birds with one stone. They approached Farmers Market leaders about moving to the First Street power plant property, a concept called City Market. Moving Farmer’s Market would free up city-owned land it could sell, and put to use city-owned property the city could not sell.

Farmers Market board members didn’t like the idea. They are doing well where they are and the rent they paid to the city for the property was almost nothing. Also, the present location brings in casual visitors who are downtown for other reasons.

Downtown businesses didn’t like the idea, either. They see Farmers Market as an additional attraction that fills restaurants and shops with customers on mornings when the Farmers Market is open.

At the moment, almost nobody goes to the old power plant, and other than Lawson Creek Park across the road, there is nothing else for people to do in that section of town.

It started to get ugly, as things often do when one opposes City Hall. There were veiled threats of eviction countered by a petition that gathered 15,400 signatures from people opposed to the Farmer’s Market moving.

At some point city officials realized that the Farmer’s Market had an ace up its sleeve: Although its lease with the city was about to expire, it had the option to extend it for one more year. That would have put the city in the awkward position of evicting a beloved downtown institution right in time for the 2017 municipal elections.

The city backed off. Rather than let a squabble with Farmers Market and downtown merchants drive the 2017 municipal elections, the city was forced into another lease. This time, however, it increased the rent from $1 a year to $500 per month.

The idea seemed to wither away. There was no further public discussion about outdoor vendor sales at the old power plant property. But meanwhile, city officials worked out a deal for Craven Community College to use the First Street main building for vocational classes, calling it the Volt Center (a nod to the building’s past as an electric plant).

Then on Feb. 13, the City Market plan sprang forth once more. The city is now seeking grant funding to help pay for outdoor vending areas, a market, a commercial kitchen accelerator, and an inventor’s space.

As city director of Development Services Jeff Ruggieri said, the idea never went away. But now, rather than forcing the Farmer’s Market to move, the city now looks poised to go in head-to-head competition with the Farmer’s Market.

It’s an odd thing, the city trying to compete with an existing commercial operation. Alderman Jeffrey Odham has said he wanted to run the city more like a business, but this? Start a business? One that competes with existing businesses?

And it’s not the only one.

In January, a private artists group approached the city seeking approval to rent the old Firemen’s Museum on Hancock Street.

A little background on that: after he became mayor, Dana Outlaw began a push to unload as much surplus city property as possible. The Hancock Street museum property was on the list, and the city gave the bum’s rush to the Firemen’s Museum, forcing it to rush fundraising efforts to pay for renovations of the old Broad Street Fire House so the museum could move there.

Outlaw and city staff envisioned selling the old museum site on Hancock Street, but when bids came in, they didn’t meet minimum requirements. The building is a fairly large commercial space suitable for a restaurant or even a microbrewery, but there’s a problem: it has no parking.

True, there’s a city-owned parking lot right next to it, but the downtown parking plan calls for the city to reduce the number of leased spaces, not increase the number. And the city parking lot at New and Hancock streets is a pretty important component to the city’s master parking plan.

So, like the old power plant on First Street, the city found itself with a substantial piece of real estate that is virtually unsellable.

It makes one wonder whether city officials do any research into these things before jumping in.

Back to the artists’ group. It had lost its existing location and was basically homeless and in a bind. They thought that perhaps they could rent the Hancock Street property from the city for, say, $500 a month — the same thing Farmer’s Market was paying for its piece of prime real estate.

Good idea, Mayor Outlaw said. More research is needed. Could be the city would pay them, rather than the other way around.

But that’s not how it turned out.

Meetings were held and the city came back with a plan: The city Parks and Recreation Department would open up its own art gallery and artist space at the old Firemen’s Museum — and make money doing it.

That private artists group? Still homeless, although they are welcome to apply to use the city-owned, city-run artists gallery along with everyone else.

So, yeah, those are two examples of the city shouldering its way into areas previously the domain of private groups.

A little bit sneaky, a little big underhanded. But unlike Steve Jobs, who bought or stole proven, successful ideas and made them better, the city still has to prove whether it is any good at running an outdoor market and an artists gallery, both of which have existing and entrenched competition in the city.

But, paraphrasing a line from Steve Jobs when he would announce new products, in the sneaky, underhanded department, that’s not all.

More on that here.

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Community, Craven Community College, Economy and Employment, Mayor, New Bern business and commerce, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning

March 6th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

For companion story, click here

City Market is a triangular piece of property, with the Ghent neighborhood on one side, a mixed residential-commercial street on one side, and Country Club Road/First Street on the remaining side.

City Hall is giving that section of the city a lot of love and attention recently. Lawson Creek Park is right there and has benefited from a lot of improvements: a reconfigured and beautified entrance, a ball field, and more.

The city moved its Parks and Recreation offices to a building off Country Club Road, and is seeking funding to improve boat access there.

And it has worked with the state to reconfigure Country Club Road/First Street from four ugly, unsafe, ugly lanes of traffic, to two beautiful, safe, beautiful lanes of traffic with a center turn lane, bike lanes on both sides, and broad sidewalks stretching from Broad Street/Neuse Boulevard all the way to Pembroke Avenue.

Because that stretch of street is actually part of N.C. Highway 55, the state is paying for the improvements with a couple of small conditions: the city has to take care of moving street side utilities, for example. Oh, and the city can’t put the entrance to City Market on First Street.

Seems like a pretty small thing for the state to worry about, but the reasoning is sound: the entrance would be close to a blind curve and too close to the onramps and offramps at U.S. 70.

That means the entrance to City Market will have to be behind it, on Rhem Street (not to be confused with nearby Rhem Avenue).

Shouldn’t be a problem. The city gas station is there, but it is going to move it.

But if state Department of Transportation engineers take a close look at what the city has in mind, they’ll find that it’s a much worse option than a City Market entrance on First Street.

Rhem Street and the entrance to Lawson Creek Park form a four-way intersection with Country Club Road. There’s that same blind curve that DOT was worried about in one direction, and it’s even closer to the U.S. 70 offramps and onramps than a First Street entrance to City Market.

With traffic throttled from four lanes to two lanes after the street is reconfigured, traffic at that intersection is going to get very cosy. Many motorists will opt to reach City Market from the other direction, turning on to Second Street from Trent Boulevard.

Oh, but wait. Second Street is where Ghent Neighborhood residents have been complaining about heavy traffic (an average of 1,500 cars per day on a four-block, two-lane residential street). Full disclosure: I live off Second Street.

Second Street is an example an exasperated City Manager Mark Stephans sidesteps by pointing to all the things the city — no, he himself — has done for the Ghent neighborhood to address speeders on Spencer Avenue. (Ignoring complaints about speeders on Park Avenue.)

Referring to Second Street, Stephans said the city has moved its warehouse and will be moving its filling station, so that should be enough to satisfy the Ghent neighborhood. He says it as if they have gone to so much trouble, but they were doing it anyway.

What he’s not saying, and this is where “sneaky and underhanded” comes in, is that Second Street at Trent Boulevard is going to become a major access point to City Market.

Now let’s put this in perspective. If a private company were to propose putting a high-use business where the city plans to put City Market, say a hotel, the city planning department would be all over the developer to deal with traffic issues.

But the city is not a private company. It is free to ignore any issues its projects cause on surrounding properties.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

I’ve been wondering for some time why City Hall is so resistant to solving the high traffic problem on Second Street. When Alderman Sabrina Bengel suggested that Second Street be blocked at Trent Boulevard, city staff dug in its heels.

Whatever reasons city officials give against closing Second Street or reconfiguring it to reduce traffic, the real reason has been lurking in the dark for well over a year.

City Hall doesn’t want to decrease traffic from 1,500 cars a day. City Hall wants to increase traffic even further.

New Bern Post graphic

 

 

Posted in Aldermen, Board of Aldermen, Community, Craven Community College, Economy and Employment, Mayor, New Bern, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning

January 29th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Satellite view, via Google Maps, of the 888-acre park the city is developing.

New Bern Parks and Recreation is holding a public input meeting to discuss the Martin Marietta Park Master Plan.  The public is invited to attend this drop-in style meeting anytime between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at New Bern Mall.  The meeting will be held at Center Court.

The Public Input meeting is an opportunity for residents to review plans and share their ideas on what types of amenities and programs they are interested in seeing at the new park.  City staff as well as our planning partners, McGill Associates, will be on hand to answer questions.

“We are excited about the possibilities this project brings to New Bern.  This meeting is a great opportunity for the citizens to provide their recommendations on what they would like to see in this park,” said City of New Bern Director of Parks and Recreation Foster Hughes.

In September of 2017, Martin Marietta donated 55 acres along S. Glenburnie Road to the City of New Bern.  These 55 acres complete a contiguous stretch of land and lakes totaling approximately 888 acres that are owned by the City of New Bern.  Martin Marietta’s donation coincides with the City’s vision to create a regional park with multi-recreational opportunities and the potential for an outdoor amphitheater capable of hosting various entertainment and performances.

For additional information on the master plan process, please contact Foster Hughes, Director of Parks & Recreation at 252-639-2915.

Posted in New Bern, Parks and Recreation

January 17th, 2018 by newbernpostadmin

Satellite view, via Google Maps, of the 888-acre park the city is developing.

New Bern Parks and Recreation is holding a public input meeting to discuss the Martin Marietta Park Master Plan.  The public is invited to attend this drop-in style meeting anytime between 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29 at New Bern Mall.  The meeting will be held at Center Court.

The Public Input meeting is an opportunity for residents to review plans and share their ideas on what types of amenities and programs they are interested in seeing at the new park.  City staff as well as our planning partners, McGill Associates, will be on hand to answer questions.

“We are excited about the possibilities this project brings to New Bern.  This meeting is a great opportunity for the citizens to provide their recommendations on what they would like to see in this park,” said City of New Bern Director of Parks and Recreation Foster Hughes.

In September of 2017, Martin Marietta donated 55 acres along S. Glenburnie Road to the City of New Bern.  These 55 acres complete a contiguous stretch of land and lakes totaling approximately 888 acres that are owned by the City of New Bern.  Martin Marietta’s donation coincides with the City’s vision to create a regional park with multi-recreational opportunities and the potential for an outdoor amphitheater capable of hosting various entertainment and performances.

For additional information on the master plan process, please contact Foster Hughes, Director of Parks & Recreation at 252-639-2915.

Posted in Parks and Recreation Tagged with:

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