Mental health facility, downtown Jacksonville growth discussed at joint meeting

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Onslow County and Jacksonville leaders met Monday in a show of collaboration that was the first meeting between the two groups for new Onslow County commissioners.

The meeting focused on a number of items meant to improve the community.

“The City Council and the mayor believe very strongly that communication and positive relationships with the chairman and county commissioners is essential,” said Richard Woodruff, Jacksonville city manager.

On the agenda were improvements planned for downtown Jacksonville to spur growth, including plans for the Jacksonville marina.

Demolition is already underway there to build a whole new marina by the summer.

Charges are also coming for New Bridge Street, like a possible change to the road from a four-lane to a two-lane divided street, as well as beautification projects.

Leaders also discussed an update to downtown parking. The construction of 75 new parking spaces off Tahlman Street is almost complete.

They also discussed mental health services in the community

Onslow County is severely lacking compared to other communities. There are no patient beds in the county, and mental health cases take up an estimated 16,000 of police officer time. That’s the equivalent of eight full-time positions.

“Because of a lack of mental health services in the community, what we’ve seen is officers having to deal with situations for longer and longer periods of time,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Jacksonville Police Department.

Other items discussed among leaders included a waterfront conversion at the Jacksonville landing.

The city hopes to either sell it or work with the government to redevelop it into a waterfront park.

No action was taken Monday, only communication.

However, several of the items discussed at the meeting are on each respective government’s next meeting agendas.

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