Tourism Board hears citizen complaint, looks at proposed boardwalk design

Published 10:30 am Monday, November 1, 2021

The Thursday, October 21, Dare County Tourism Board meeting opened with an unexpected citizen complaint.

Holding up a sheet of paper with an offensive four letter word, Page Wiencek spoke at the October 21 Dare County Tourism Board meeting saying he was disgusted with the display of such language during a recent event at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head.

Promoted as an inaugural OBX Jeep Invasion, the September 24-25 OBX Jeep Jam at the Soundside Event Site in Nags Head was hosted by CAT 5 Jeepers and Dare County Motorsports Charity Group. Some of the funds raised were to go to support the annual Dare County Toy Run and provide toys for the Dare County Center to ensure that all of the less fortunate children of Dare County will have a wonderful Christmas.

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“The rules for the center and page three of the application say lewd and vulgar language is prohibited,” said Wiencek. “I believe in the First Amendment, but this is a disgusting thing to have here in Dare County and the Jeep people should be made aware. They have control and I hope you will have a discussion about it.”

At the end of his comments, board member Jeff Pruitt assured Wiencek that there would be a discussion on the matter.

Following the meeting, Dare County Tourism executive director Lee Nettles advised that the next step toward addressing Wiencek’s complaint is for the board to work with its attorney and communicate with the town [Nags Head].

“Our expectation is that events taking place on the event site are family friendly,” explained Nettles. “This type of thing is unacceptable and we need to develop a system to ensure it never happens again.”

During the regular agenda business items, with engineer John M. DeLucia of Albemarle and Associates checking in by video link, board members looked at an initial design for a proposed boardwalk design for the Soundside Event Site.

According to DeLucia, the new boardwalk will tie into an existing one with a gazebo that could be used for small weddings.

He went on to say that the original plans called for a six-foot wide walkway but that would not allow two wheelchairs to pass each other, so he is looking at seeking approval for a 10-foot wide boardwalk.

A vote of approval by the board allows DeLucia to seek the necessary local, state and federal permits and prepare a set of plans for bids by developers.

Faced with several Tourism Impact Grant requests that exceeded the money available, the board approved applications with roughly a 15 percent reduction in what was requested in order to remain within the authorized budget.

– $38,760 to Chicamacomico Historical Association for exterior restoration of 1911 Cookhouse.
– $20,280 to Friends of Jockey’s Ridge to improve park access for mobility challenged visitors.
– $250,000 to Nags Head (Town of) Epstein Street Public Beach Access improvements and construct a rain garden.
– $37,898 to Nags Head (Town of) to construct 350 linear feet of sidewalk from Wrightsville Avenue along Bonnett Street to NC12 and 300 linear feet of sidewalk
westward along Barnes Street from Hwy 158 to S. Meekins Ave to join existing sidewalk to Town Park.
– $127,500 to North Carolina Coastal Federation for Jockey’s Ridge Shoreline stabilization and construction of an adaptive shoreline management.
– $21,250 to Outer Banks Forever to create an accessibility-friendly interpretive Aviation Trail Through Time Education Exhibit from the First Flight Boulder to Big Kill Devil Hill and the Monument.
– $30,260 to Southern Shores (Town of) to purchase traffic data software that will identify vehicle point of origins and summarize traffic patterns and residential street vehicles cut-throughs.

In other business for the day, September 16 meeting minutes were approved and guidelines amended for both Restricted Fund Grants and Long Term Unappropriated Grants to added clarify that grant applications must be directed toward unplanned, extraordinary, non-recurring and urgently needed projects, add land/real property purchases to list of ineligible items and specify that any other property developed or improved under a grant must be lien and encumbrance free

The board also approved a set of estimated figures for the redesign and repair of the marketing area and server room at the Welcome Center building in Manteo. The proposed $461,000 of work budgeted will include construction, painting, electrical, flooring for six offices, redesign and construction of hallway, conference room, storage closet and server room; remove several existing windows and eliminate any potential rot and repair in those areas with framing between existing windows and connect to the exterior walls. The preliminary design work will also prepare the area for a second floor at some time in the future.