The North Carolina Coastal Federation and Carteret County have partnered on the purchase of 76.25 acres of land in Ocean, a community between Morehead City and Swansboro, the federation announced Monday.
The deal was finalized March 20. Plans for the property include a Wildlife Resources Commission public boating access area in partnership with Carteret County on a portion of property and the federation’s new Center for Coastal Protection and Restoration on another portion. The county will manage the remaining acres, including the protected conservation areas, as a county nature park offering natural trails and recreational opportunities, according to the federation.
“The boating access area and other public recreation opportunities afforded by this acquisition will be a true asset to Carteret County and all of Eastern North Carolina. The County appreciates all of the support we have receive from our federal, state and local partners to bring this project to fruition” said Robin Comer, Vice-Chairman of the Carteret County Board of Commissioners, in a statement.
Additionally, the Department of the Navy acquired as part of the transaction a restrictive easement over the entire property to prohibit incompatible development, which might otherwise compromise pilot training performed at nearby Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field Bogue. The state was granted a conservation easement on 24.14 acres to preserve the natural habitats in that area and prohibiting any development in the future.
The federation’s new center to be built on its 10 acres on the southwest side of property will include an education and events center, an open-air education pavilion and federation headquarters, all arranged around a community courtyard for gatherings and events, according to the nonprofit organization.
“The Center for Coastal Protection and Restoration will be a special resource that will support the federation’s work coastwide. It will embody the mission of the Coastal Federation, bringing the community together around shared educational and recreational resources and providing an example of sustainability for our coastal communities,” federation Executive Director Todd Miller said in a statement.
The federation and county raised $7.9 million for the project. Of that, $7,474,000 was for the land acquisition and $426,000 in nonfederal funds will be used by the county to develop the road access from N.C. 24 into the property.
Contributions to the project included $1 million from the federation, $1.9 million from the Navy, $1.2 million from the North Carolina Clean Water Management Trust Fund, $3.3 million from the state General Assembly, and $500,000 from the North Carolina Parks and Recreational Trust Fund.