Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Surf City to begin construction on new town hall, police department one year after Florence

A town council meeting at the Surf City Community Center on Friday morning. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)
Since Hurricane Florence caused extensive flood and mold damage to Surf City’s town hall on Topsail Island, administrative offices and town council meetings, pictured here, have been held at the Surf City Community Center. (Port City Daily photo/Mark Darrough)

SURF CITY — Surf City will begin construction on a new town hall and police department building exactly one year after Hurricane Florence made landfall, flooding the former town hall building on Topsail Island.

The 2.9-acre plot of land, donated by longtime local property owner Alan Sullivan in December, is located directly west of the Publix grocery store at the intersection of N.C. Highways 210 and 50.

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Doug Medlin said architectural plans will be unveiled at a groundbreaking ceremony on September 14. The land is currently being cleared of underbrush and the number of trees counted to determine how many must be removed when the floor plan is complete. According to Medlin, this will determine how many trees must be replanted on the property.

RELATED: Surf City receives $400,000 for new town hall and repairs to park damaged by Florence

Medlin said the town hall and police department will each be approximately 10,000 square feet in size, with the council chamber designed to be converted to an Emergency Operations Center when necessary.

Since Florence, town staff have been using two rooms in the Surf City Community Center while town council meetings have been held in the building’s auditorium.

Pender County GIS mapping shows property, donated by Allan Sullivan, to Surf City for the new town hall and police department. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County GIS)
Pender County GIS mapping shows 2.9-acre property donated by Allan Sullivan to Surf City for the new town hall and police department. The plot of land is located to the west of the intersection of N.C. Highways 50 and 210. (Port City Daily photo/Courtesy Pender County GIS)

Town Manager Ashley Loftis, who on Friday received word from Council that she will soon return to her prior job as finance director, said she expected construction to last a year to a year-and-a-half.

It will definitely help us be more organized and more productive in our work day,” Loftis said of the future building. “We’re excited about it; it’ll be nice to have our own building again … Obviously there are times where it gets — there a lot of people moving through [the community center]. But we’ve definitely made do the best that we can with what we have. We were thankful to have this space to go to.”

In early April, North Carolina Senator Bill Rabon announced that $315,000 in Golden LEAF grant money was awarded for the engineering and design of the new town hall.

At the time, Golden Leaf President Dan Gerlach said the allocated money was a “last money in” approach meant to fund the project in ways that FEMA may not.

“The design and engineering [of the building] is probably not something FEMA will cover. We wanted to be sure that it did get covered so they can progress on this while they wait for FEMA resolution on the other costs,” Gerlach said.

According to the town’s Facebook page, the specific time for the September 14 groundbreaking ceremony will be announced at a later date.


Send comments and tips to Mark Darrough at Mark@Localvoicemedia.com or (970) 413-3815.

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