WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WECT) - The North Carolina Coastal Federation Southeast office staff will move into their own building next. The non-profit agency focuses on protecting and restoring our coast through education and restoration.
While the weather delayed the move, staff members said they're willing to wait a few extra days after all they've been through to make this transition a reality.
The Federation will be moving into a recently renovated beach cottage that was scheduled to be torn down, but at the last minute, given a second chance to serve as the area headquarters for a group whose job is to help keep our beaches clean and safe.
What they found was a beach cottage, known as the Palmgren-O'Quinn house. The home was built in 1948 on Harbor Island. When the Federation learned it was slated to be demolished, they reached out to the building's owner and struck a deal to save the house.
The agency's new home, however, had to be situated a few miles away from its original location.
So last June, the house was jacked up, put on a barge and moved from its original South Channel Drive, around Harbor Island, thru Lee's Cut, and then unloaded onto a trailer, to be trucked to its new location, as part of the town's Historic Square, where it sits today.
"I think we have tried to recognize what the previous owners loved about this house, and tried to maintain that and still try to re-purpose it as an office and education center," said Tracy Skrabal, the Coastal Federation's regional manager.
"With a house this old, you really don't know what to expect, in terms of siding, windows, framing, roofs," explained Tanner Konrady, whose company did the remodeling work. "You really don't know what you are going to get when you start pulling layers off of a house. And we found a lot of interesting things, but for the most part, the house is in great shape."
It will take the agency staff about a week to get the new operations completely up and running.
With their new permanent and expanded base, the federation is planning to offer many new programs, including coastal ecological tours, a speaker's series, along with partnership events with other organizations, even culinary classes.
While the owners of the cottage donated the house to the Coastal Federation, there was still money that had to be raised to move the structure and set it up as an office complex. So far, almost $600,000 has been contributed.
Even though the agency now has a new base to operate out of, the Federation still needs furnishings and equipment for the education center, everything from aquariums and microscopes to picnic tables and furniture, so contributions are still welcome.
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