The Exploratory Committee for a Potential Branch Library in Northern Dare will meet Friday at 5:30 p.m. in the Pitts Center. The meeting is open to the public.
Please see The Beacon, 8/1/21, for a report on the committee’s last meeting during which members discussed regaining the momentum they had for the library/community center before the COVID-19 pandemic up-ended Dare County’s business agenda.
The proposed library would be located on Juniper Trail in Southern Shores and would serve the Duck-Southern Shores-Kitty Hawk legislative district, which also includes Martin’s Point.
On 8/1/21, we asked for readers’ thoughts about the project and received a sprinkling of responses.
Marilyn Hull of Fairway Drive said, “I totally support a Southern Shores library—it would be such an asset to our community!”
Fran Kapinos of Tenth Avenue agreed, emphasizing in particular the use of the library as a gathering place and community center.
“Love the idea of using it as a community center for gatherings, classes, etc.,” Ms. Kapinos wrote in a Beacon blog comment. “Pitts Center isn’t widely available because of town-related meetings. Over the last year folks have ordered their books online, so this can be a smaller branch with some books and pick up and drop off. A meeting room would be widely used, similar to the one in KDH.”
Karen Bachman of Beech Tree Trail disagreed with opening a new library, advocating instead for a joint effort among towns to “create an improved KDH library,” thus making county money go “further by spending smarter.”
Three Beacon Facebook readers gave her comment thumbs-up.
Ms. Bachman could imagine building a “gorgeous” new and expanded library in Kill Devil Hills with funds that would go toward supporting a branch in Southern Shores.
One reader, whose name we cannot find now, suggested that a YMCA or a gym be built on the Juniper Trail site that landowner TowneBank has said it would rent for $1/year to Dare County for the new library.
At the Planning Board meeting Monday evening, we recalled this suggestion, when the discussion turned to what retail business might occupy the 6,000-square-foot space that Aston Properties proposes to build next to a Marshalls department store in the Marketplace. (See The Beacon, 8/17/21.)
We asked L. Karen Partee, Aston’s vice president of construction and development, if a health club or gym might be considered for this space. With a rather sour look, she replied, “Grocery stores don’t like gyms nearby.”
Since we are free-associating a bit, we will also mention that Planning Board member Tony DiBernardo asked Ms. Partee on Monday about the possibility of the shopping center landowner setting aside some reserved parking spaces for veterans, as is done in the Harris Teeter parking lot across the highway in Kitty Hawk.
Ms. Partee replied that those parking spaces are dedicated by the landlord at the request of the tenant. What she did not say is if Food Lion or CVS asked Aston to set aside veterans’ parking, it would be happy to do so. Nor did she say her employer would suggest the idea to either retailer.
The community-spirited Mr. DiBernardo also championed again an electric-vehicle charging station at the Marketplace, an idea that has not ignited a spark with Aston’s representatives.
There is now a 24/7 electric-vehicle charging station outside of the Pitts Center.
PAVEMENT CONDITION AND ROAD MAINTENANCE
We will return soon to report upon the pavement condition survey that was presented to the Town Council yesterday morning at an hours-long workshop by SEPI engineer Anthony Roper. Mr. Roper’s draft report is online at MEET-Packet-bacca4c9fff8459f8c796883c3efc33e.pdf (usgovcloudapi.net)
The good news is that SEPI’s survey of the asphalt on the 37-mile network of roads in Southern Shores revealed all streets to be in fair (73 percent), good (15 percent), or excellent (12 percent) condition.
The bad news is that all of the streets will inevitably deteriorate because of age, weather, and traffic load. “Asphalt dries out, gets brittle, and starts to break down,” Mr. Roper said.
The SEPI engineer, who previously worked with Town Manager Cliff Ogburn in Nags Head, proposed that the Town adopt one of two options for 10-year capital improvement plans (CIP), each of which is designed to preserve the roads by preventing damage, not to save the roads by completely rehabbing them, as the Town has been doing. Mr. Roper is proposing a “proactive approach.”
The Town Council previously voted to invest $1 million annually in a 10-year capital-improvement plan. Mr. Roper’s survey and suggested scheduling of “right treatment, right road, right time,” as he said, gives the Town a blueprint to follow.
The Town Council was enthusiastic yesterday about Mr. Roper’s prevention techniques and his CIP options, but it made no decisions about implementation. Presumably it will do so after the SEPI report is finalized.
Ann G. Sjoerdsma, 8/18/21