Reprinted from Island Free Press
The Dare County Board of Commissioners approved this week a resolution to apply for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development, or BUILD, Transportation Discretionary Grant program, in an effort to secure funding for the Hatteras village multi-use path project.
The 3.75-mile pathway will connect the Hatteras ferry docks to the northern town borders and include a loop along Eagle Pass Road, making all areas along the route safer and more accessible.
The BUILD Grant program provides funding for projects that have a significant local or regional impact. BUILD grants are announced in December, and if funds are obtained, construction on the pathway could start as early as spring, 2020.
The action came during the board’s meeting Monday. A similar resolution was adopted in 2018, and an application that stemmed from the resolution was denied, however, Planning Director Donna Creef noted that the chances of acquiring grant funds through the program are improved this year.
“Hatteras village has hired a gentleman who has a past history of writing grants, so he is helping with it this year, and hopefully we will submit the grant and be successful,” said Creef.
A recent survey was also conducted for the pathway, which provides a detailed outline of where the pathway will be located. Ricki Shepherd, chairperson for the Hatteras Village Community Center District, stated in an earlier interview that having a concrete survey could increase the odds of securing grant funds as well.
“The deadline for the BUILD grant is July, and last year, we found out about it at the last minute and sent in an application on the deadline date,” Shepherd said in the interview. “This year, with the completion of the surveys, we have skin in the game, and I think our chances are very good to get the money to actually build the pathway.”
The resolution that was passed at Monday’s meeting was similar to the 2018 version, however it noted that the Ocracoke passenger ferry was in service, instead of being a work in progress, which increases the need for reliable transportation in the village.
“That BUILD grant, if this is successful, (is) going to be providing some inertia for some real critical mass here,” said County Commissioner Danny Couch at the meeting. Couch represents Hatteras Island on the board. “This is almost going to ensure that we can complement that money and get this done. This is critical.”
Creef also said at the meeting that if the grant application were successful, it could result in roughly $1 million in funds for the project.
The seven-member board unanimously approved the motion to submit the grant application.
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” said Chairman Bob Woodard.
This story is provided courtesy of the Island Free Press, a digital newspaper covering Hatteras and Ocracoke islands. Coastal Review Online is partnering with the Free Press to provide readers with more environmental and lifestyle stories of interest along our coast.