August 21, 2008

Pleasure Island Bike Trail--Share Your Opinion

Wilmington Star

Pleasure Island wants fitness trail to run through Sunny Point

By Chris Mazzolini
Staff Writer

August 21, 2008

A group of Pleasure Island residents and outdoor enthusiasts are working together with government officials to build a paved bicycle and walking trail that extends from Carolina Beach to Fort Fisher.

Proponents want to build the Pleasure Island Greenway, a 9.5-mile-long paved path that would connect Snow’s Cut to Federal Point. A big chunk of that would run through land owned by the federal government.

So New Hanover County is seeking public input on a request to seek an easement on the fire break that separates the beach towns from the Military Ocean Terminal at Sunny Point.

Proponents are seeking a continuous strip of land between Sumter Avenue in Carolina Beach and Fort Fisher. Richard Himmelstein, a Kure Beach resident who’s a member of the greenway committee, said the path will help connect all of Pleasure Island’s recreational areas, provide a safe route for pedestrians and cyclists and give people an alternative means of transportation.

And access to such a large undeveloped piece of property is growing increasingly rare, added Michael Kirkbride, another committee member.

Since the property is owned by the federal government and is outside the beach towns’ borders, officials felt the county was the best organization to make the easement request, said Neal Lewis, county parks director. He said the county’s park advisory board has discussed the project and is in favor of it, but the matter would ultimately need commissioner approval – and the Army’s permission.

“The key player here is the Army,” he said. “They own the property. Everything here that happens will have to be approved by them.”

The project has garnered support from the island’s town governments. Carolina Beach Town Manager Tim Owens said the project could be an economic boost for the town. Kure Beach Mayor Mac Montgomery said such a trail fits the Pleasure Island attitude.

“I think we’re at a point that pedestrian traffic is becoming, for many people, a preferred way to get around,” Montgomery said. “It’s in keeping with the lifestyle we want to promote here on the island. I consider this to be a real positive not only for our citizens, but the whole county.”

Himmelstein said the project could cost as much $2 million to $3 million, and that they are seeking grant funding to pay for it.

Map of project
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