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NHC commissioners meet with state leaders to discuss county priorities

NHC commissioners meet with state leaders to discuss county priorities
Published: Jun. 14, 2022 at 4:53 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County commissioners paid a visit to Raleigh Tuesday as part of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners’ County Assembly Day.

During their visit, commissioners Deb Hays, Jonathan Barfield, and Rob Zapple met with state lawmakers and members of Governor Roy Cooper’s staff to discuss some of the county’s priorities including: Replacement of the state-owned Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Creating a stable and predictable source of state funding for beach nourishment, securing a state film incentive program with increased funding to entice new productions, developing a more diverse funding source to fund the state’s critical transportation infrastructure needs, receiving state support for infrastructure projects at the Wilmington International Airport, and additional state funding and resources toward addressing the mental health needs of residents.

When it comes to the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, Hays says the state is running out of time to find an option to replace the aging bridge.

“The last thing we want is for any news organization to have a photo of the Cape fear Memorial Bridge hanging down into the Cape Fear River,” said Hays. “And with its aging process escalating, that is a potential in not too long out.”

Hays says she wants to work with the state to see if funding can be reallocated from other projects to help fund a permanent replacement for the bridge.

On the topic of beach nourishment, Hays says while current projects are expected to wrap up soon, the hope is a new plan can be put into place for the future of the county’s beaches.

“Everyone is working on that,” said Hays. “Trying to figure out where we can pull funds from in order to dedicate so that we don’t have to, every three years, try and figure out where we’re going to get the money to fund our beach nourishment.”

Hays says she is optimistic about her conversations with state leaders in Raleigh Tuesday.

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