On June 11 the Carolina Beach Town Council met to go over various ways to improve Freeman Park for local home owners, renters and visitors. After Memorial Day weekend, many issues have arisen.
These issues ranged from ways to prevent people from getting stuck as they drive onto the beach to inadequate trash receptacles. However the largest issue seems to be how and if to limit the number of cars and people allowed onto the north end. Both locals and tourists enjoy going camping and grilling out there, however there are no containers for people to put the ashes and coals into. Concrete ash pits, which are removable structures in the event of a storm, would allow people a designated area where they could dump their ashes in when leaving the park was one solution that is being discussed. There was also talks of adding more trash trailers for larger items such as broken beach tents. Council members are also looking into the use of Hatteras ramps that would help prevent people getting stuck at the entrance of the park and causing traffic to back up. The ramps are wood slats linked together and placed atop the sand.
The price options for driving onto Freeman Park range from a year pass for $100 to day passes for $20 or a three day pass for $50. The revenue from these goes towards beach renourishment, lifeguards and other expenditures.
Councilman Steve Shuttleworth discussed the issue of over crowding on the beach. He feels we need to start tracking the number of people that are driving onto Freeman Park, however he does not think we need to place limits on them. At least not this season. Mayor Bob Lewis had different views on this. "We need to get some type of plan by 4th of July weekend. We've got to pick a number of people that we are going to allow… and then just no longer allow anymore vehicles on there. An unlimited amount of vehicles we are just way way out of control. I don't know what that number is. I don't know how we are going to do this… but we have to figure a way to slow the capacity." The council members may not agree on how to resolve all these issues but all agreed on one thing, that something needs to change and that needs to start with reevaluating the rules of the park and making sure all that go out there recognize them.
Hopefully as the season moves forward the town council will be able to solve some of these issues so the owners, tenants and tourists can continue to enjoy all that Freeman Park has to offer.
By R.E Hunter