Town of Wrightsville Beach funds new trolley markers, flotilla parade

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The seven signs on Wrightsville Beach that mark the island’s trolley stops during the early 1900s will soon be replaced with shiny bronze-and-black plaques.

“Before, some of the signs were silver and some were bronze, so the new signs will be more uniform,” said Wrightsville Beach town planner Zach Steffey during a Wrightsville Beach Historic Landmark Commission meeting Monday, Nov. 9.

The new signs are not the only change the island will experience within the next month. The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla’s parade of lighted, decorated boats will take place Saturday, Nov. 28, with an expanded route this year to start north of the Heide Trask Drawbridge. The new route will give businesses on both sides of the ICWW,  Bluewater Grill, The Bridge Tender and Dockside Restaurant, a view of the parade and a chance to increase their revenue during the offseason.

“We’ve got about 15 or so boats entered. We’d love to get three or more, if we can,” said Pres Davenport, the flotilla committee’s chair, during a Nov. 10 Wrightsville Beach Marketing Advisory Committee meeting.

Using funds from the New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority, the Wrightsville Beach Board of Aldermen appropriated $29,000 to this year’s flotilla celebration. $12,000 will fund the post-parade fireworks celebration Nov. 28, and $17,000 will be used to support the parade.

Other expenses funded by TDA collections include $377,101 to support the town’s ocean rescue program, which employs 30 lifeguards to man 13 lifeguard stations each summer.

Wrightsville Beach also received $100,000 to support beach patrol officers, $35,000 for the cleaning of beach bathhouses and sanitation clean up on the oceanfront and $12,000 to maintain the public restroom by the Trolly Stop.

The Carolina Yacht Club will update its facility as well. Kevin Smith, the yacht club’s general manager, brought the proposed projects before the historic landmark commission Nov. 9. The committee unanimously approved Smith’s plans.

Smith will replace two locker room doors, the fans in the women’s locker room and several of the windows around the women’s locker room.

Smith said the new windows will match the building’s current windows. He also said he will replace two of the locker room doors, since the club has had problems with theft. He estimates all of the projects will be completed by mid-March.

Committee member John Moore requested Smith take photographs after the projects are completed.

“I’d like to see the finished product, and I’m sure everybody else would too,” he said.

email pam@luminanews.com

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