Historic square grand openings 


Two of the three historic homes in Wrightsville Beach Historic Square will hold grand openings next week.

The newly renovated Wrightsville Beach Visitors Center opening will be held April 30, and the relocated Southeast Regional Office of the North Carolina Coastal Federation will hold a grand opening May 3.

The circa 1940 Bender-Howell Cottage serving as the home of the Wrightsville Beach Visitors Center and Chamber of Commerce was in need of a series of repairs funded by the chamber. Those included replacing the entire back wall, electrical repair, insulation repair and work to the roof and porches.

Sue Bulluck, chamber of commerce chairwoman, said the opening will take place from 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, and the event will serve as the official reopening of the visitors center and a way to show off the renovations. Bulluck said the entire Wrightsville Beach business community is invited to bring pamphlets or other literature about their businesses to leave for visitors.

Just 20 yards across the Historic Square parking lot, the N.C. Coastal Federation will open its doors Saturday, May 3, after relocating and renovating the circa 1946 Palmgren-O’Quinn house for its new Southeast Office and Coastal Education Center.

After moving the house from South Channel Drive to the historic square in June 2013, Coastal Federation coastal scientist and district manager Tracy Skrabal said the renovation process was long but drew a large amount of community support.

“It has been better than we ever could have imagined and I say that just from the standpoint of how many businesses, partners and volunteers have put time, talents and resources into this house,” Skrabal said. “We knew it was going to be a community project, but we could not have imagined how many people would give to this project.”

The ribbon cutting will take place at 2 p.m. May 3, including house tours and featured exhibits. One exhibit will be the What Goes Around Comes Around Plastic Ocean Project art exhibit by University of North Carolina Wilmington researcher Bonnie Monteleone. Other exhibits include various stormwater implements that Skrabal said will give visitors ideas for their own homes.

In addition to seeing visitors walk through the new facility, Skrabal said her office is excited to get back to work without having to concentrate on renovations.

“Honestly we are really excited about getting back to work,” she said. “It has been a necessary but significant investment of our time for over a year now. But considering it will give us a center for the next 30 years and considering how wonderful this is going to be, I can’t complain.”

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