By Connie Leinbach
Work has begun in Community Square to create a new waste water system for the shops. Construction began Wednesday and is expected to continue for several more weeks, said Scott Bradley, president of the Ocracoke Foundation, which owns the square.
The huge concrete containers being installed are for the waste water system serving the Community Store, Trixie’s Fineries and the Fudge & Ice Cream Shop and Kitty Hawk Kites, he said.
“This (new system) will allow the existing toilets to empty into updated septic, but there will not be enough capacity for public use beyond the current limited use by employees,” Bradley said.
Porta-potties are the only restrooms available in Community Square.
A large, permanent porta-potty is located alongside the Community Store, and Bradley said two other are installed in the area between Trixie’s Fineries and The Fudge & Ice Cream Shop temporarily in the summer months.
After the waste water system is installed, the parking lot will be paved with pervious concrete pavers–a costlier, environmentally significant option which absorbs rain water instead of draining into Silver Lake, improving the harbor’s water quality.
However, when completed, the new lot will lose four to six parking spots.
While the work is being done, the stores that are open are still accessible though those visiting the shops must park their vehicles elsewhere.
The construction is part of the renovation plan for the entire square. Both of these projects are partially funded by the Golden LEAF Foundation, which also granted the foundation $175,820 to save, restore and improve the Willis Fish House and Dock, which was seriously compromised in 2016 by Tropical Storm Hermine and Hurricane Matthew.
This building and dock is home to the Ocracoke Working Watermen’s Exhibit, and refurbishing is planned to begin late in the 2018 off-season.
The foundation purchased Community Square in November 2013 with two loans totaling $1.6 million, half from The Conservation Fund (TCF) and half from a private donor.
“TCF was recently repaid, thanks to generous donations, large and small, from many of you, and a partnership loan from TowneBank,” Bradley said. “We will continue raising funds to secure debt free ownership over the next two years. This will enable us to direct rental income into a Community Fund to benefit island needs, and to preserve the five structures on the National Register Historic of Places and two docks.”
To assist the Foundation in securing this iconic area of Ocracoke Village, donations may be sent to The Ocracoke Foundation, P.O. Box 1689 Ocracoke, NC 27960-1689.
Contact information is as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org, and the website is ocracokefoundation.org.