JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)–A grant from Duke Energy Water Resources Fund will provide for public access to the New River as part of the city of Jacksonville Riverwalk Marina Plan.
The $100,000 grant provides for replacing old dilapidated docks and piers once inaccessible to the public, with several public areas, including fishing, picnic and viewing areas, a boardwalk and a kayak and canoe launch.
“This allows us to make improvements so that it’s a public facility,” said Susan Baptist, parks and recreation director. “It’s a public park, and it will give access people to our waterways.”
The city purchased the old marina in 2015 and has been working to provide it as a public space with some areas reserved for rentable boat slips. Other renovations will include a boat and kayak launch, gazebo, and new boardwalks.
The revitalization is good news for young businesses like Paddle NC, which is partnering with the city to get folks out on the water.
“We want people to launch from out here and just get out in nature,” Christa Foysi, manager at Paddle NC, said. “Having a new launch out there is going to make it easier to launch. The one that we currently have gets super slick and isn’t conducive to launching kayaks. But the one they’re planning to build is easy for everyone to use.”
The city also hopes to tie in a water-based trail that would connect Sturgeon City, the Riverwalk Marina and Jacksonville Landing as well as points in the future at Northeast Creek Park and aboard Camp Lejeune.
Construction is slated to begin later this year, and the city hopes to complete the project in 2018.
The Riverwalk Marina is adjacent to the Riverwalk Crossing and LP Willingham Parks, both of which were constructed in the former railroad right of way. The two are showcase parks for the city.