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Carolina Beach approves $500,000 down payment for Freeman Park land

Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 1:00 PM EST
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - From grants to user fees the town of Carolina Beach has several different plans to pay for the property at Freeman Park. The town agreed to spend $7 million to buy approximately 300 acres of land at the north end of the Island on Friday. The town has been involved in four lawsuits for four years that have led to the purchase of the land but property owners still have not responded to requests for comment regarding the sale.

On Monday, Town Council voted to pay $500,000 as a down payment for the land, which was previously owned by private corporations.

Freeman Park brings in millions of dollars to the town through the sale of access passes and camping permits, and town leaders plan on using that money to pay for the property.

Mayor LeAnn Pierce said user fees will be the main way the town pays for the land, but she is also looking to get creative with other funding opportunities.

“In the past, it has been very difficult for us to go out and look for grant funding because we did not have an agreement with the purchase price with the property owners, now that we have that, we’ve already been in conversations with Representative Miller looking for some state funding,” said Pierce. “We’re also looking towards our room occupancy funds, and we want to apply for some grants to buy down the purchase,” she said.

There’s no timeline just yet of when the purchase will go through. The Local Government Commission still has to approve the entire sale. Landowners still have not responded to requests for comment on the impending sale of their land, but attorneys for Carolina Beach told WECT the sale was binding and there was no turning back now.

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