JACKSONVILLE - City officials say plans are underway for a new boat ramp in downtown Jacksonville.
Jacksonville Deputy City Manager Ron Massey said the current boat ramp, which is located next to the USO building, is inadequate for the needs of the growing Onslow County community.
"It's got limited parking, and it's only got two ramps," said Massey.
The new boat access area will be located across the water from the current boat ramp. It will have three boat ramps, a new board walk and at least 60 additional parking spots for vehicles and boat trailers. Massey says there will also be additional parking for those who drive out to fish, canoe or kayak.
"It not only benefits the people that live in Jacksonville, since it's a public boat ramp, it benefits anybody that is looking for a place to put their boat in the water," said Massey.
The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission is funding the project. In order to build the new access area, the city had to buy some of the properties along Highway 17 and Old Bridge Street. Massey says most of the buildings were abandoned. But a few fully operational businesses, such as Lucky's Tavern, Carlone's Pizza and Subs and Continental Cap City, must relocate.
"We hate that the move is taking place. It's been a hardship on us, but the city's been great," said Kevin Arnold.
Arnold's family has owned Continental Cap City, which sells truck covers, buildings and accessories, for the past 20 years.
"It's a roll of the dice, we have put a lot of faith in God, and we always have. It's the foundation of the business," said Arnold.
Arnold says the business will soon relocate to two miles north of the air station on Wilmington Highway in Jacksonville.
"We have literally been blessed," said Arnold of his family's business. And it's a blessing they hope will continue for another 20 years.
Jacksonville Deputy City Manager Ron Massey says work will begin in the next month to clear the triangular shaped area located between Old Bridge Street and South Marine Boulevard.