TRANSCRIPT: August 3, 2021 City of Southport Community Update #2 of 2: City Projects

This is Dr. Joe Pat Hatem, Mayor of the City of Southport.

Today I would like to discuss with you the many projects in our city and how we continue to move forward.

Infrastructure projects are our largest projects and they are quite evident in the city.

HOWE STREET SEWER PIPE REPLACEMENT PROJECT –1913 PIPES—excavated, by-passed, replaced, covered, then paved. This has been an important project for our city and has been a challenging one.  There have been setbacks but that is to be expected, especially in the block in front of Dosher Memorial Hospital, 1913 pipes connected to the original 1930 hospital. We also lost time when I requested that the project not begin in the Central Business District during the Christmas shopping season as was first planned. I did not want to interfere with this important time of the year for our businesses. The project began several blocks up and then had to backtrack. I appreciate the patience of our citizens as we all find our way through the detours. The impact has been mitigated to the utmost degree and the cooperation from our businesses and citizens has been exemplary. I have personally been on site multiple times and have visited the businesses in each block, to make sure access was adequate and clearly marked. I have had numerous conversations with the City Manager on the importance of completing this project as soon as possible.

WEST BAY STREET:  Repair and stabilization of the road, sidewalk, and riverbank. The rocks are pouring in as we move forward in the repair from Hurricane Isaias. This is directly related to the city receiving full reimbursement from FEMA and a project that could not begin until the start of the new fiscal year, July 1st. The project is expected to be completed within the next three weeks.

POTHOLES:  The “craters” on Brown and Clarendon have been paved over—a simple patch was not a long-term solution. Again, a fiscal year project budgeted for after July 1st and has been completed, as have other areas in our city. This should be an ongoing project as we work on the repair and improvement of our vital road infrastructure.

WEST BRUNSWICK STREET: The repair and stabilization of West Brunswick Street has been budgeted for this fiscal year and should begin before the end of the year.

YACHT BASIN PEDESTRIAN WALKWAY: The funds have been budgeted and I have asked that work begin after the Wooden Boat Show which is scheduled for Saturday, November 5th. This will allow for minimal interruption and maximum efficiency in completing this project and will be ready for our 2022 tourist season.

CITY DOCK:  The dock reopened in May to the delight of our citizens and tourists. Phase 2 of the repair will begin in October.

CITY HALL: 1029 North Howe Street. I asked that the building be painted and repaired.  It has been painted—Spring of 2020. The repair of the façade had to be moved to the fiscal year 2021—2022 for budgetary purposes. The hardie board on the façade of each corner has to be replaced. And again, the rest of the building has already been painted. The repair has been budgeted and the project will begin soon.

REVISION OF THE UNIFIED DEVELOPMENT ORDINANCE:  A great accomplishment taking hundreds of hours—City Staff, Planning Board, and Board of Aldermen, working together—scheduling public hearings– to help set an overall plan for Southport. This also included as well the updating of the CAMA Land Use Plan, the vision and admonition of which I have stated before including preserving the city’s heritage and historic preservation is one of the most important aspects of my job as Mayor—as well as protecting our shoreline and wonderful view; supporting our Central Business District and all businesses in our city to enhance a robust economy for our restaurants and small businesses; preserve the city’s neighborhoods; and as a public health advocate, protect and promote the health of our citizens, the health of our city and the environment.  Note, our UDO continues to be updated—the Ordinance on Short Term Rentals as well as an updated Tree Ordinance—both to protect the character and the historic heritage of our city

REGIONALIZATION OF THE SOUTHPORT SEWER SYSTEM: Before I became Mayor, the City of Southport was in the process of building its own wastewater treatment plant. I was against this and favored the regionalization approach with Brunswick County. We are moving forward with this which includes a public hearing that will be held at the County Complex within the next two to four weeks. One more step towards finalizing our goal of joining the county system.

WATERFRONT STABILIZATION: Working with our legislators, especially Representative Charlie Miller, there is a bill in the House that designates five million dollars for waterfront stabilization for Southport.

TRAFFIC PATTERN-SPEEDING ISSUES- AND PEDESTRIAN SAFETY: I have asked for a town hall meeting and workshop on these topics. The date to be set for next month.  We will hear from our citizens, as well as from our Police Chief and Police Officers, City Department Heads, DOT, State Patrol, Sheriff’s Department, and others as we work towards an overall plan and solutions to traffic in our city.

This is not a complete list, but is an update on some of our more pressing issues as we continue working together for the betterment of our city and for the enhancement of the quality of life for all our citizens.