MINNESOTT BEACH, N.C. (WNCT) – A Pamlico County Board of Commissioners meeting earlier this month left some residents of Minnesott Beach concerned for their town.
Currently, there are two main ways to get to Minnesott Beach, either drive down NC Hwy 306 or take the ferry from Cherry Branch in Craven County. At the August 7 meeting, Pamlico County put a new path on the agenda, a bridge.
“The commissioners want to see what it would take, what’s the cost of one. Right now, is it more efficient to continue to run the ferry long term or is it more efficient to have a bridge crossing there?” Pamlico County Manager Tim Buck said.
The resolution from the county requests a feasibility study for a bridge crossing the Neuse River, asking the state and federal government to allocate funds for said study.
Tim Fowler is the mayor of Minnesott Beach. He attended the August 7 meeting to offer the town’s take on the study.
“That is why I went to their meeting, asking them to postpone, to table their resolution until Minnesott had an opportunity to put our resolution together. They could then see that, and then come up with a joint resolution with a minority report,” Fowler said.
The Town of Minnesott Beach later released its own resolution against the bridge feasibility study.
“We understand the Pamlico County Commissioners, they have a role to play, which is to look out for the county. However, our view is that I need to look out for Minnesott Beach. A bridge going through Minnesott Beach would be devastating, it would change our whole way of life here,” Fowler said.
According to the resolution from the Town of Minnesott Beach, a bridge would increase wear and tear on NC Hwy. 306, lower property value in the area and damage the quality of life.
“Frankly, I was astonished. Astonished that someone would think about putting a bridge that would have to be a substantial bridge across the Neuse River at this point. Minnesott Beach is a small community, and a bridge would substantially change that,” resident Carol DeMoranville said.
County officials said it is not requesting a bridge, just a study to weigh the pros and cons of one.
“If the study came back and said it would have some detrimental impacts to the town, we would try to get them to address that, mitigate that or you know say hey we’re not interested in doing that from our standpoint,” Buck said.
But for Minnesott Beach, if the project gets started, they fear it will continue.
“We do not want any activity that would promote looking at a bridge across the river here,” Fowler said.
“There’s a lot to love in Minnesott Beach, we love the quiet residential area. The wildlife that’s here,” DeMoranville. “I don’t want it to change.”
9OYS also reached out to Pamlico County Board of Commissioners Chairman Edward Riggs. He was unavailable for an interview but did send a statement. Click here to read the statement.