New Bern celebrates moving ahead with new park

Published: Sep. 26, 2017 at 8:02 PM EDT
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A mining company is donating several acres for use at a park in the east.

While Martin Marietta Materials currently has its own legal battles underway in Beaufort County, New Bern officials say they are ready to see the positive outcome to this donation, even with some stipulations.

It might seem like a drive off the beaten path, but New Bern City Manager Mark Stephens says big plans are in store for that big plot of land.

"The advantage of 900 acres, almost, of property to work with, is you can really dream big," he explains.

The city of New Bern has approved Stephens to move forward with finalizing a 55 acre land donation along South Glenburnie Road from Martin Marietta.

"This was key, this was integral, this was the first step in the process to get us the property that we need to actually move forward with some bigger plans," says Mayor Pro-Tem Jeffrey Odham.

Now the city of New Bern will own almost 900 acres on South Glenburnie Road.

In exchange for the land donation, the city must use all Martin Marietta aggregate products throughout the park.

"All the amenities we're going to put in here, you can just have a day at the park, you can have a cascading amphitheater, get here five hours early, enjoy bird watching, you know, I see folks coming out here and spending the day, you can kayak, you can canoe," says Mayor Dana Outlaw.

In addition to the endless possibilities of development, city officials say it's about more than that.

"The missing link to total recreation for New Bern," Outlaw says.

The agreement also says all print, broadcast and advertising materials have to describe the venue as Martin Marietta Park.

As for the legal battle in Beaufort County, the mining company is wanting to dump millions of gallons of mining wastewater into Blounts Creek per day.

That is currently being challenged in the court system.

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Tuesday night, the City of New Bern Board of Aldermen directed the city manager to move forward with finalizing a land donation agreement that will result in the City’s largest ever park.

Martin Marietta, the current owner of approximately 55 acres along S. Glenburnie Road, presented the City with a proposal earlier this month to donate the land under recommended usage.

City Manager Mark Stephens sought direction from the Board on the matter and presented the Board with the optional use.

The Board agreed Stephens should move forward with the land donation agreement and plans to create a new city park.

Martin Marietta’s donation coincides with the City’s vision to create a regional park with multi-recreational opportunities and the potential of an outdoor amphitheater capable of hosting various entertainment and performances.

In exchange for the donated land, the company has requested that all advertising, broadcasts, and print materials describe the venue “at Martin Marietta Park” and feature their logo.

They’ve also requested that Martin Marietta aggregate products be used exclusively in the construction and development of the site.

The company stated in its proposal letter that it understood the city would have to raise funds for the project, even to consider amphitheater naming rights.

These 55 acres complete a contiguous stretch of land and lakes totaling approximately 888 acres that will now be owned by the City of New Bern. With the addition of this property, the city can now look at developing a master plan outlining multi-recreational and cultural opportunities, as well as the proposed amphitheater.

The scope and size of amenities at the future Martin Marietta Park will be determined after further study.