Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Golf Factor in the New Bern Area

The golf scene sure has changed in the New Bern area over the past 40 years. New Bern golf and country club was the first and only course in the area until the mid 1960's. I believe Carolina Pines was the next course to open, sometime in the mid 60's, and Riverbend followed in the late 60's. The Shoreline course in Fairfield, the Minnesot course in Pamlico County, the Quaker Neck course in Jones County, all sprung up in the 70's. The 80's brought the Harbour Pointe course in Fairfield and the Emerld in the city of New Bern. In the 90's Taberna and the links joined the crowd. The end result is that we have a plethora of fine courses to chose from in this area. As in life I believe variety is the spice of life when it comes to golf. Most of us get comfortable playing our home courses and miss out on the challange of facing a course ofwhich we are not familiar. I think we should all get out and play some of the other fine courses in the area.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Goodby to a piece of history

On May 15 at 3 pm the the old Alfred Cunningham draw bridge over the Trent River in downtown New Bern NC was closed forever. It will be torn down and replaced with a new Bascale style bridge. The new bridge is estimated to take 2.5 years to build and will hopefully be ompleted for the 300 aniversary of the founding of New Bern. It will be sad to see the old bridge go, she did a great job for 60 years.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

New Capital Projects

The board of County Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting Monday, May 7th at 7 PM. During this meeting The Superintendent of Craven County Schools submitted his request for county funding for fiscal year 07-08. His request represents an 18% increase over what we budgeted last year. The County manager and his staff will be meeting over the next few weeks to discuss the School Boards request. We also heard from Dr.Scott Ralls, the president of Craven Community College. The college requested what amounts to a 7.72% increase over fiscal year 06-07.

Over the course of the next month we will be hearing from many county department heads and other organizations that receive funding from the county government. By the end of May the County Manager will present a budget proposal to the board of commissioners. The commissioners will meet throughout the month of June to fine-tune the budget. By state-statute, a new budget must be adopted by June 31st.

In addition to the regular agenda, there was a public hearing concerning the county borrowing 60 million dollars for the following projects.

1.Creekside Elementary School-$14,000,000. This school, which is currently under construction, is located on Old Airport Road. Creekside is being built to relieve overcrowding at Brinson elementary which is over 60 years old and at times has enrollment of close to 1000 students. Creekside will relieve current overcrowding at Brinson and should accommodate the growth in township 7 for some time.

2.New Jail-$30,000,000. The current jail was built to accommodate 70 inmates and at times has over 200. The State Department of Corrections has been telling the county for years to alleviate the overcrowding or they would require us to send our inmates to other jails. This would be very expensive in terms of manpower to move the inmates and the cost to house them in another counties jail.

3. Loan to Craven Regional airport. $1,800,000. I guess by know everyone has heard that Delta has 2 flights, soon to increase to 3, to Atlanta. These flights in addition to the 8 flights daily by US air to Charlotte give us a very viable airport for a small county. The airport board believes, and I agree with them, that with all the development occurring in Township 7 it is necessary to purchase several hundred acres that surround the airport. There are documented cases throughout the United States where airports have been forced to close and relocate because new housing developments were built near existing airports. The $1,800,000 we are lending the Airport will be to purchase necessary land to prevent housing developments from occurring around the runways. The airport will repay the county the $1,800,000 in 4 years. FYI, the county owns the airport, however we are not involved in the operations of the airport. They have a board of directors and an airport director(retired General Braaten) that manages the day to day operations.

4. Capital Improvements to the County Schools. $10,023,175. Many of our schools were built in the 40's,50's, and 60's and are in need of additions, updates, and or repairs. These funds will help to keep some of the older schools functioning for some time.

5.Tryon Palace History Center $1,000,000. The state has allocated $35,000,000 for the building of a history center in downtown New Bern. The funding for the history center will come by way of a bond referendum that will be voted on statewide in November. Before legislators would agree to commit state funds for the center they wanted a commitment from local government. They feel that if local governments have an ante in the project they will work harder to ensure its success.Tryon Palace Commission marketing studies indicate the history center will attract an additional 100000 visitors to New Bern. Even if their numbers were to be off by 50% the increase in sales and occupancy tax paid by visitors from outside of Craven County will allow us to recoup our $1,000,000 commitment in a few years.

The County Commissioners voted to fund these projects by way of what is called a certificate of participation. We basically give the lender an instrument similar to a mortgage. These improvements will not result in a tax increase as long as the state government does not alter our existing revenue stream.If you have any questions about these projects please call me at 633 0075 or 6335720.

Steve Tyson
District 7 Commissioner

Friday, May 11, 2007

Eleoquent dining in downtown New Bern

Last night, for the 3rd time this week, my wife and I ate supper at the Harvey Mansion located in downtown New Bern, NC. It is my favorite restaurant in New Bern and is truely a dining experience.
On the first and second floors there are six dining rooms. The green room was the original formal parlor, with its ornate woodwork and molding. The board room has a conference table which is perfect for business meetings or gatherings for up to 10.
All dining rooms have a fireplace with local art showcased. This 9000 square foot home, built from 1797 to 1804, is one of the last remaining structures in New Bern representing the prominence of the town as a seaport and thriving colonial city.
On the third floor, with a view of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, are three spacious bedrooms. Converted in the late 1990's to a B&B, the third floor was part of the original living quarters.
The menu features a complete array of seafood, beef, poultry and lamb dishes. Dinners are beautifully presented and amply portioned and include a house salad and fresh rolls. Regular items such as Beef and Brie en croute, lamb Osso Bucco, Ahi Tuna and portabella stack, Chicken Chesapeake and Carolina Crab Cakes that rival the Eastern Shore of Maryland keep our guests coming back. Nightly specials, sumptuous appetizers and homemade desserts tempt your palate and add to your dining experience. The wine list is derived for your enjoyment from the Wine Spectator Award list at the Beef Barn, and has been described as the best variety and value in the area.The original kitchen and storerooms were located in the cellar, which today still feature the original fireplace and andirons. The copper-top bar, exposed beams and low-ceiling provide a unique pub/lounge ambience. Enjoy your favorite steamed seafood or snacks in this laid-back and casual atmosphere. Join your friends - old and new for a fun evening at New Bern's hottest spot.