Surf City approves annexation to keep plans for popular recreation park alive

·2 min read
Site plans for the new park and recreation complex in Surf City. The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund recently awarded funds to the Earl G. & Inez Batts Recreation Complex.
Site plans for the new park and recreation complex in Surf City. The N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund recently awarded funds to the Earl G. & Inez Batts Recreation Complex.

After officially taking ownership of more than 40 acres of land around JH Batts Road, Surf City officials are continuing plans to build a recreation complex on the mainland.

An annexation request to continue work on the Earl G & Inez Batts Recreation Complex was passed by the planning board and council members. Although the land is already in Surf City's extraterritorial jurisdiction, which gives authority beyond normal boundaries, it's now within the town's official limits.

The idea for 45.85 acres of parkland adjacent to the existing Surf City Community Center and athletic complex was made possible a few years after acquiring land from the Batts Family Corporation, which was created by the late Earl G. Batts and wife, Inez S. Batts, in the 1970s.

Plans for first phase for the project includes a skatepark, playground, two sand volleyball courts, an 18-hole disc golf course and more.

Town manager Kyle Breuer said the town is continuing to move through the site design and permitting process. According to a schedule, construction may start in late fall or early winter.

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Schedule for Phase 1 of the Earl G. and Inez Batts Recreation Complex.
Schedule for Phase 1 of the Earl G. and Inez Batts Recreation Complex.

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"We should start to see some stuff this fall with actual clearing, grading, and putting the parking lot put in and the playground," he said.

A posted schedule for complex estimates the first phase could open early next summer.

"When the land starts to get cleared, that certainly would bring some increased excitement for the community certainly," Breuer said.

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So far, the town has received $1 million in grant funding from the North Carolina Parks and Recreation Trust Fund and the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

For the second phase, town officials would like to install two multi-use fields with lights for players and visitors. A LWCF grant was submitted for the phase, expected to cost $1 million. To fill funding gaps, town officials will search for funding through grants and private organizations.

Reporter Chase Jordan can be reached at cjjordan@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Surf City approves annexation to keep park plans alive