Southern Shores approves funding for The Wall That Heals and KHES playground, discusses Mid-Currituck Bridge project

Published 8:41 am Wednesday, March 15, 2023

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Southern Shores Town Council members made a handful of financial decisions at their March 6 regular meeting.

The council agreed to donate $5,000 to The Wall That Heals three-quarter traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial, which is coming to the Soundside Event Center in November, as well as another $5,000 to the new Kitty Hawk Elementary School playground project that will allow children with disabilities equal access to playground equipment, ensuring that all children can play together.

The town also approved the first phase of the Juniper/Trinitie Bridge Replacement project. Though the town has not received approval from the Coast Guard to lower the bridge height for aesthetic and driving ease, the town can still move forward with initial plans while they await a response.

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Council approved a budget amendment up to $185,000 for this phase, which town manager Cliff Ogburn estimates will take about six months. The entire bridge replacement will take about a year.

The last financial decision made by council was approval of an auditing contract with accounting firm Carr, Riggs & Ingram for about $24,000 per year.

One area where the town is saving money is with community involvement in planting sea grass. The Better Beaches group, the Town of Southern Shores and the Civic Association have joined together to plant 113 boxes of beach grass, equaling about 80,000 sprigs, covering several miles of vulnerable areas in town.

Three more planting dates are planned, the final one scheduled for Friday, March 17, concluding with a St. Patrick’s Day pizza party at the marina.

“I can’t thank you all enough,” Mayor Elizabeth Morey said to staff and volunteers.

During council members’ reports, Paula Sherlock mentioned the February 23 decision of the Fourth Circuit Court regarding the Mid-Currituck Bridge project. After hearing oral arguments in December, the court upheld the decision of the district court and found that the transportation agencies did not violate the National Environmental Policy Act when they approved the bridge project.

This decision by the court allows the project to move ahead with the permitting process.

A representative from the town attorney’s office stated that he does not think it’s likely that the plaintiffs in the case will appeal the decision.

“Let’s keep our fingers crossed,” Sherlock said of the bridge project. “I think it’s a go.”