WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Rep. Ted Davis (R-New Hanover County) filed a bill in the North Carolina House of Representatives on Monday to secure $8 million in funding for projects at the Fort Fisher State Historic Site in Kure Beach, the first step in getting the money included in the upcoming state budget.
Davis’ bill, House Bill 44, asks for $7.5 million from the general fund in the 2019-20 budget to go to the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Historical Resources, for completing capital projects at the site. It says the funds “are needed to build a new visitor center, which will provide additional space for exhibits, a larger auditorium to handle several school groups at once, a multipurpose space for classrooms, storage facilities for archives, and rental space for additional income.”
According to the bill, “funds are also needed to expand Fort Fisher’s earthworks exhibit, upgrade its parking lot, and build a new maintenance facility.” The state appropriated $400,000 in 2016 to start the planning for the new visitor’s center.
The bill also seeks to have $500,000 from the same budget to go to state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, Division of Historical Resources, Office of State Archaeology to “plan facilities for the Underwater Archaeology Branch to be located on the grounds of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site to preserve the state’s maritime history." Davis says this funding request comes from former state representative Susi Hamilton, who is now secretary of the Department of Natural Resources, and would go toward providing lab space at the historic site.
HB44 also calls Fort Fisher State Historic Site the most visited such site in the state, attracting more than 900,000 visitors at the end of last fiscal year. The bill is on the agenda to be introduced when the state House reconvenes at 4:45 p.m. Tuesday.