New Bern Board of Aldermen votes in favor of memorandum of understanding to develop areas of city

New Bern Board of Aldermen votes in favor of memorandum of understanding to develop areas of city
Published: Feb. 8, 2022 at 8:38 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2022 at 8:53 PM EST
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NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - The New Bern Board of Aldermen voted 4-3 in favor of the memorandum of understanding with New Bern Historic LLC to develop three commercial areas in downtown Tuesday evening.

New Bern residents spoke out Tuesday, many not happy to learn that one of the three pieces of property the city might develop is a part of a beloved park.

Residents like Bernice Hogan enjoy the river view at Union Point Park.

Hogan likes to admire the view as she sits in her car while having her lunch.

“This is my favorite part of New Bern, I enjoy it very much,” Hogan said. “I look forward to coming every day.”

The spot where Hogan likes to park sits in front of the area of the park that the New Bern Board of Aldermen is considering selling for development.

“The portion of property from the restrooms down to about where the deck used to be. The waterfront portions that’s not part of this,” New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw specified.

Tuesday night, the board approved the memorandum of understanding with New Bern Historic LLC to develop three commercial areas in downtown.

“Which is kind of like a pre-engagement, it’s just the first opportunity to say the city is interested in these opportunities for our citizens,” Outlaw explained.

The three areas include the building known as the “Elk’s Temple Building,” the vacant lot at the corner of Craven Street and South Front Street, and perhaps the most controversial, a portion of Union Point Park.

“We lost a whole view on South Front in the 1980′s when they built the Sheraton which is now the Hilton. We don’t need to lose this,” New Bern resident David French said.

According to the board, the park parcels include the development of a hotel containing a restaurant, meeting room, art gallery, and more, which Outlaw said will restrict some of the views of the river from the street.

“If you were leaving Broad Street and heading back towards the bridge, there would be the hotel which would obstruct some of that view,” Outlaw said.

The argument in favor of the project is that the development could bring more high-paying jobs and economic development to the area.

WITN reached out to New Bern Historic LLC’s media contact, but did not yet hear back.

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