ATLANTIC BEACH, CARTERET COUNTY - Atlantic Beach residents debated over a proposed plan to put a new town hall building at the "Circle." They packed the inside of the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores Thursday night.
Mayor Trace Cooper attempted to inform the divided audience why a proposed project to build a $3 million town hall at the "Circle" development district would be beneficial. The current town hall is in the same building as the Atlantic Beach Police Department. Cooper said there is a need for more safety and space.
"I heard the need three times in there, but nobody says what the need really is," complained one resident. "Our police department and our first responders have never missed a second getting to where they should go. Our administration people handled everything they need to go. What's wrong with the current town hall?"
"I'm not for it or against it" said another resident. "I just want to see if they can pay for it. If they want to build this building, they need to go ahead and sell the Food Lion and not to a developer."
The town council first considered building the new town hall in the former Food Lion building on West Fort Macon Road. Those plans are still up for consideration, along with the "Circle."
Some residents suggested that a town attraction should be placed at the "Circle," rather than a building with limited parking space.
"There's absolutely nowhere to go," said a resident. "When you listen to people that come to Atlantic Beach, they are disappointed in Atlantic Beach and are not coming back. That's revenue we're not going to get."
Council members said they plan to take all of the comments and concerns under consideration before making a final decision.