Grant to fund repairs on public boardwalk behind COA
By Jon Hawley
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Pasquotank County has won a second grant for repairing the public boardwalk behind College of the Albemarle's Elizabeth City campus, County Manager Sparty Hammett reported recently.
The county has won $84,000 from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Division of Coastal Management, to repair about 1,400 feet of the boardwalk, Hammett reported. The new grant is for “Phase II” repairs. DEQ also awarded the county $84,000 last year for Phase I repairs.
The county's grant application explains that the boardwalk, about 3,500 feet of wooden planks, was built from 2001 to 2005. It's sustained years of weather damage since, including from hurricanes, leaving some parts of the boardwalk uneven, broken, and unsafe.
Hammett referred detailed questions about the project to Mark Powell, a consultant with the Albemarle Resource Conservation and Development Council that's directly overseeing the project. Powell was unavailable when called for this story.
According to the grant application, the Phase II grant would fix the section of boardwalk running from the kayak/canoe launch behind COA south to behind a parking lot for Sentara Albemarle Medical Center.
The Phase I project, being constructed by Sawyer's Residential and Marine Construction, covers 750 feet of boardwalk, running westward from the kayak launch and into COA's lot. Hammett also reported that Sawyer was set to start work Monday, but poor weather may have delayed that.
Notably, Phase I was supposed to cover 1,500 feet of the boardwalk, but high construction bids forced the county to halve the project. Based on what Powell told him, Hammett wrote in July that deteriorated supports factored into the high cost.
Whether the county's Phase II funding will cover 1,400 feet as proposed will depend on what bids the county gets back. The county has also committed about $9,300 as a local match to the project. It will take more than a year to build, based on the grant application.
The COA Boardwalk runs along the Pasquotank River and through the Fenwick-Hollowell wetlands area. Pasquotank and COA officials, as well as community members, have praised the boardwalk as a scenic walking area and a public asset.