Carolina Beach town council talks about new pier

Reported by Kristy Ondo - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

CAROLINA BEACH, NC (WECT) - A decision made Tuesday night in Carolina Beach could bring a new pier and new visitors to town, but a local family says it's not all good news.

The Phelps own the long wooden pier that has jutted out into the ocean for about 50 years, but now they fear the new pier could ruin business.

When Hurricane Fran took it out in 1996, Robin Phelps' father rebuilt it.  Now, she says another force threatens to take out the old pier for good.

Carolina Beach Council has taken the next step in building a new pier with the North Carolina Aquarium.

At 1,000 feet, with a long list of amenities, the new pier could be a serious threat to the old, less than a mile away.

"I think that's a glass half empty kind of attitude," said Mayor Joel Macon.  "They're looking at the down side instead of thinking about the increased tourism it's going to bring to the area and to their business as well. They could tag along and really benefit."

While the state will pay for the pier, Carolina Beach agreed to buy the land, which will cost $4 million.

Tuesday, town leaders decided to ask county commissioners for $1.5 million in park bond money to help pay the tab.

As the project quickly moves forward, the Phelps family can only hope their business won't come crashing down under the weight of the competition.

The Town of Carolina Beach is hoping grants and bond money will cover a lot of the expenses for the land, but as it stands now, the Macon says the taxpayers will face an increase.

The pier is expected to be finished sometime in 2015 at the earliest.

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