After months of negotiations with the prospective new owner, the Town of Emerald Isle is pleased to announce that it has reached an agreement to acquire Bogue Inlet Pier and remove three ocean storm water outfalls.

The Board of Commissioners approved the purchase agreement at its September 12 meeting.

The agreement is between the Town and Mid-Atlantic Real Estate and Development (Raleigh, NC), the group that currently has approximately 18 acres of property around the pier under contract.

The agreement calls for the Town to purchase an approximately 150 ft. wide by 800 ft. long strip of oceanfront land that currently includes 3 ocean storm water outfalls that drain vast impervious areas directly to the Atlantic Ocean. The Town would remove the 3 ocean storm water outfalls upon acquisition of the land, helping to achieve an important water quality goal outlined in several State and local plans.

The Town would also acquire an additional small tract of land under and adjacent to the existing Bogue Inlet Pier house, and an additional .9 acre tract of land located approximately 500 feet north of Bogue Inlet Pier.

The total purchase price for the three tracts is $3,000,000, which the Town hopes to secure from the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund (CWMTF).

Under the terms of the agreement, Mid-Atlantic would donate the existing pier house and pier structure to the Town as a charitable contribution. Mid-Atlantic would also construct, at its expense, a new parking deck with 170 public parking spaces that would be located on the .9 acre tract acquired by the Town.

The new parking deck would then be owned and operated by the Town in conjunction with the pier and pier house. The agreement also calls for Mid-Atlantic to renovate the existing pier house, and for the Town to reconstruct Bogue Inlet Drive and make significant streetscape and storm water improvements.

The goal of the Town and Mid-Atlantic is to create an aesthetically pleasing, pedestrian-friendly entry way from NC 58 to the renovated pier house, the focal point of the area now known as "Village East". The new parking deck will replace the existing parking lot for Bogue Inlet Pier, which will be removed in conjunction with the removal of the existing ocean storm water outfalls.

"The Town is extremely pleased to announce this agreement, as we believe it is a major victory for water quality, public beach access, and the preservation of the ocean fishing piers in Emerald Isle and North Carolina," noted Mayor Art Schools.

The Town has been working with the NC Aquariums on a plan to eventually convey the pier, pier house, and parking deck to the NC Aquariums in the future, which would operate as a satellite facility of the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.

"We are excited about this partnership, and believe it will further strengthen the pier fishing and beach visitor experience in Emerald Isle," added Mayor Schools.

The Town recently amended its grant application to the NC Clean Water Management Trust Fund to request $3,000,000 to acquire the three tracts of land.

Town Manager Frank Rush noted that there is still much work to be done to make the project a reality. "We are pleased to have reached an agreement with Mid-Atlantic, who have been very cooperative in this process," Rush said. "The agreement is contingent upon the Town receiving the requested Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant, and we will be working hard to convince the CWMTF Board of Trustees of the merits of our project between now and November."

The CWMTF Board is expected to make final grant funding decisions at their meetings on November 12 and 13, and project supporters are urged to continue to express their support to State and local leaders.

If the Clean Water Management Trust Fund grant is approved, and Mid-Atlantic's overall purchase is finalized, the Town expects to close on the acquisition in early 2007.

The Town's goal would be to re-open Bogue Inlet Pier in March 2007, and complete renovations and other improvements in a way that keeps the pier open to the public next year.