SWANSBORO, N.C. (WNCT) – Tourism’s off-season can be a financial challenge for local businesses along Carolina’s coast, and in response, the town of Swansboro is making changes to bring in more tourists.
The town will add electric car charging stations to bring in a new type of environmentally friendly tourist.
However, not all owners agree it’s the best idea right now.
Swansboro received a $10,000 grant from Duke Energy to install two stations.
One station will go on the corner of Front and Church streets and the other would be at Town Hall.
“The problem with eastern North Carolina is we have those sparse locations, so when you get to a certain charge it runs out,” said Scott Chase, town manager. “So we’re hoping to be able to connect eastern North Carolina by those charging stations.”
Pogie’s Bait and Tackle owner Matthew Littleton said he hopes the stations will drive more tourists to the town during the winter off-season.
“If someone has the opportunity to charge a smart car…that might give them a reason to come to Swansboro rather than Atlantic Beach or Wilmington,” Littleton said.
Swansboro is the only municipality in Onslow County that will have the charging stations. While cars charge, Salt Marsh Cottage owner Leah Evans hopes the drivers will explore the town.
“It gives them the opportunity for a couple of hours while their car is charging to come downtown,” said Evans. “We have six restaurants; wonderful little boutiques.”
Some business owners think the biggest draw for more tourism will be better parking, and the town should focus on that instead.
“I think (parking) should be a priority,” said Evelyn Moore, who owns Yana’s Ye Olde Drugstore. “It’s very simple to do. All you have to do is mark out the spaces.”
Chase said getting more parking is a work in progress.
“We do have parking, and we’d certainly like to get more parking, but it’s definitely going to take more consideration and more study,” Chase said.
There will be three more charging stations across the east in Kinston, Jones County and Oriental.
The goal is to encourage tourists to drive freely across the east.
Chase said there’s no set date for when the charging stations will be installed.