Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Carolina Beach still in a state of emergency, with Freeman Park to reopen Friday

Carolina Beach Lake overflowed onto Lake Park Boulevard on Tuesday.
Carolina Beach Lake overflowed onto Lake Park Boulevard on Tuesday. Photo by Hannah Leyva.

The Town of Carolina Beach, which declared a state of emergency on Friday, Oct. 2 along with the rest of New Hanover County and other local municipalities, remains in that state and does not plan to lift it until council meets on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

According to Assistant Town Manager Ed Parvin, the town is following suit with the county, which has yet to lift their declaration because of continuing flooding issues.

“The county got more flooding than anticipated due to the cresting of the Cape Fear River,” said Parvin. “We’re still in the middle of recovering from the impacts that we felt, and so are they.”

Lake Park Boulevard, which was closed for a few days after Carolina Beach Lake overflowed Sunday night, is open again. The town is still running two pumps (down from four) from the lake to the ocean to keep the water level manageable during high tides, but the lines have been rerouted to run underground so that traffic won’t be affected.

Parvin said the town is anticipating some more flooding over the next few days during high tides on Canal Drive, Carolina Beach Avenue North and other low-lying areas. As a result, there will still be some intermittent street closures.

Freeman Park is scheduled to reopen at 7 a.m. Friday. The entrance to the popular overnight beach campground, which has been shut and guarded all week, is on Canal Drive. The park has been closed since sunset last Friday evening for public safety reasons such as limited accessibility to the entrance and the possibility of beach erosion and debris flying in high winds.

Parking enforcement, which was suspended when the state of emergency was declared, will also be reinstated at 7 a.m. Friday. Pay stations and parking meters will be uncovered or put back in place and all parking laws will be enforced again.

The town is also offering a free pickup for all flood-related bulk and vegetative debris. Residents are encouraged to put their debris curbside between now and Sunday, Oct. 11 for pickup on Monday, Oct. 12. Any items placed outside after then will require a work order generated through town hall.

Though Carolina Beach experienced more problems than many other areas in the county, the town’s small staff and crews have been alternating shifts since late last week to work around the clock and stay on top of the damage. A lot of credit, Parvin said, goes to the town’s Director of Operations Gil DuBois, who has made many improvements to the town’s equipment and systems over the last couple of years to help deal with such issues. As a result, Parvin expects the town to be almost back to normal by the end of the week.

“To a certain extent we’ll still be working until that point [Tuesday evening],” Parvin said. “But we feel like by Tuesday we can rescind that [the state of emergency].”

“This is just part of living by the coast,” Parvin added.

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