News

Ocracoke’s Community Square needs financial support

Summertime in Community Square. Photo: C. Leinbach

Summertime in Community Square. Photo: C. Leinbach

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The Ocracoke Foundation is still seeking donations to help shore up the asset of Community Square from private development.

The following is an appeal from Scott Bradley, foundation president:

The Ocracoke Foundation (OFI) purchased the Community Square in November 2013 to prevent development of the property, to retain community ownership, and to protect and preserve the structures, docks and harbor’s water quality.

Only WE—together–can control the Community Square’s future.

Please consider:

  • The recent impact of Tropical Storm Hermine in September, followed by the record-setting flood waters of Hurricane Matthew one month later, make it clear that the five National Register Historic structures and docks require repairs, flood mitigation and restoration work. A century of storms has taken its toll on structures 80 to 116 years old–the “heart and soul” of our maritime heritage. Time is running out.
  • Consider Ocracoke’s ‘feel,’ ‘character’ or ‘ambiance’ without the Community Square: Its waterfront access and open space for all; a focal point for our tourism-based economy; a venue for festivals, dances, music and pirate fights.
  • The Silver Lake Hotel/Motel/Jolly Roger/Docks property was purchased this year by an LLC based in Reston, Va. The historic Island Inn is now closed and for sale. Now–more than ever–keeping the Square community owned, and preserving Ocracoke’s rich culture, is vital.
High water from Hurricane Matthew at the Community Square dock. Photo: Scott Bradley

High water from Hurricane Matthew at the Community Square dock. Photo: Scott Bradley

While foundations and grants continue to help support restoration and improvements, we must secure low/no debt ownership. If the Community Square is encumbered with debt and liens, our ability to obtain grants and loans for repairs, restoration and preservation of this iconic maritime heritage site is severely limited. Protective covenants will keep it community owned and prevent development, in perpetuity.

Our loan from The Conservation Fund to purchase the property has been restructured into 2017. As part of the repayment strategy, the current goal to raise $200,000 by the end of 2016 has raised $75,000 from nearly 60 donors.

As an island resident, business or property owner–or visitor who loves this island–what is it worth to YOU to help preserve the Community Square?

Please donate, so together we protect and preserve the Community Square!  

For information, donation form, donate on-line: http://www.ocracokefoundation.org   

Thank you, and best wishes for this Holiday Season.

Community Square is a great place for square dancing. Photo: C. Leinbach

Community Square is a great place for square dancing. Photo: C. Leinbach