Currituck opts to keep Moyock Welcome Center

Published 8:25 am Saturday, November 19, 2022

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In a special meeting on Monday, November 14, Currituck commissioners chose to reject the offer to sell the Moyock Welcome Center property located at 106 Caratoke Highway.

The offer came unsolicited from Frontier Builders, which planned to put in a Wawa gas station and convenience store on the county-owned property. The offer came in at $2.2 million, which was $400,000 above the appraised value. Currituck commissioners were considering the opportunity.

The Welcome Center building was formerly a car dealership and many believed the facility was less than ideal due to the limited amenities and parking difficulty for RVs or trucks pulling boats or campers.

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At the November 7 commissioners meeting, about a dozen concerned community members spoke during public comment to urge the board to keep the current Welcome Center.

“The Welcome Center has been nothing but a beneficial facility for every business in Currituck County from Moyock to Grandy to Corolla,” said Barry Nelson. “That piece of property couldn’t be any more perfect that it is. The facility is wide open, it’s beautiful, it’s second to none in the nation, and I think it would be a travesty for this board to sell it.”

Deborah Williams, who has worked part-time at the center since it opened 13 years ago said, “I love promoting Currituck County. I have lived here my entire life and it’s a dream job for me and my co-workers. My heart is totally in this job which is probably why last Tuesday when I got the call from my tourism director about what was happening I cried the rest of the day.”

Williams shared what the facility offers including walls of brochures, free coffee and the opportunity to talk to people. She explained how she engages visitors and encourages them to visit various restaurants, retail shops and tourist attractions in the county.

“I hope that you will give this serious consideration. Once this property is sold, Currituck County can never, ever get it back,” she added.

Resident Ellen Grandy quoted figures from the Travel and Tourism’s 2021-22 Strategy and Marketing Plan which states that some years up to 70,000 people walk into the building to use the restrooms or gather information.

“We need it there,” Southland Trade Corporation President Louise Harrell said to the board. “Please do not sell us out.”

Currituck commissioners were scheduled to vote on the matter at the November 7 meeting, but due to the illness of commissioner Bob White, they delayed the vote until the November 14 special meeting.

The county could not be reached for a comment, but Currituck Chamber of Commerce President Josh Bass said “a lot of new info came out and [commissioners] heard a lot they were not aware of. A lot of the public shared how well the Welcome Center is utilized.”