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Manteo Common: Vision to reality will take some time

A conceptual drawing of what a proposed Manteo Common might look like was unveiled at the town’s meeting on April 17.

A Manteo Common was the idea of Mayor Bobby Owens to replace a soon-to-be-demolished vacant building on Budleigh Street with a combination parking lot and outdoor space. The mayor believes the project would ease summertime parking problems and at the same time combine an open park-like setting that would be attractive to residents and tourists.

Landscape professionals John Robbins and Laura Woolard were hired by the Town of Manteo to explore options for the property. After a series of community meetings, they unveiled drawings that showed a mixture of garden plantings, sculptures, serpentine walkways, open event space, rest rooms and public parking spaces.

The Manteo Common area would be located on property owned by the county. The property between Budleigh and Ananias Dare streets contains several buildings, including the vacant and deteriorating former Raleigh Hotel building. The county has told the town it plans to demolish buildings on the site.

Manteo town manager James Ayers said, “it will take some time to make the vision a reality.” The town still needs to sign a lease agreement with the County of Dare, determine a project cost, apply for grants and develop a construction plan.

The Manteo Board of Commissioners appears to favor the intended use, but is uncertain if it should be a phased plan or if the town should take a more aggressive approach. One aspect of the project commissioners appear to agree on is not raising taxes to fund the project.

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