PUBLIC NOTICE: In observance of Memorial Day, the Town offices will be closed on Monday, May 27, 2024.  Offices will reopen for business on Tuesday, May 28, 2024.

Town Manager’s Update – April 2024

April 2024

TOURISM IN ELIZABETHTOWN AND BLADEN COUNTY

Director of Communications and Marketing Terri Dennison updated the Town Council on tourism promotion efforts. Dennison is the chairperson for the Tourism Promotion Committee, a committee of the Elizabethtown-White Lake Area Chamber of Commerce. She recapped 2023 achievements which included White Lake featured on the cover of the Visit NC Travel guide, full page ads in four issues of Our State magazine, and a social media campaign in October produced by Visit NC. Dennison stated that the relationship with the NC Tourism Office offers many benefits to the area and has resulted in increased media coverage and exposure. According to Dennison, the next big tourism push will be associated with America’s 250th celebration. She is working with the Bladen County Commissioners on establishing a county committee and coordinating Bladen County’s activities in a larger promotion for the 8 Southeastern NC Counties, called the First in Flight Festival.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Dennison also update the Town Council on 2024 events. She said that events bring tourists to the area, noting that 95% of 4,000 people who attended the recent North Carolina Interscholastic Cycling League (NCICL) race in March lived outside of a 50-mile radius of Browns Creek Bike Park.

Town related events include Kid’s Appreciation Day on Saturday, May 11th; the Aviation Camp at Curtis Brown Airfield in June; and downtown sidewalk sales over Memorial Day and Labor Day. Dennison added that the second weekend in October will be busy with the Cycle NC Bike Ride coming into town on Friday, October 11th with the Pink Out concert and event at the Farmers’ Market that night; followed by the NC Grape Fest at Lu Mil Vineyard on Saturday; and a new BBQ event at Cape Fear Winery on Sunday called the “Smithfield Cup”. The Christmas season kicks off with the Shop Local Weekend in Downtown right after Thanksgiving; the Annual Christmas Parade on Sunday, December 1st; and Christmas at the Farmers’ Market every Saturday in December.

OTHER ACTIONS AT TOWN COUNCIL MEETING
The Council approved an Interlocal Agreement with the County of Bladen for the Safe Streets For All grant. The federal grant will develop an action plan to identify projects that will provide safe routes for pedestrians, bicycles and other mobilities in the New Town area including MLK Drive, King Street, Quail Street and Peanut Plant Rd. The County will provide the required match of $68,000 for the $275,271 grant.
– The Council heard an update on the process of dealing with burned out structures. Town Attorney Goldston Womble briefed the Council on the Building Code Enforcement guidance from the North Carolina General Statutes 160D, Article 11. The matter was referred to the Planning Board.  
– The Town Council awarded the bid for the West Dunham Sidewalk Project to SMG Contracting, Inc of Council, NC in the amount of $275,400. The project is funded under the CDBG-NR Grant #19-C-3126.

UPCOMING EVENTS
5/6 – 7 PM                  Town Council Meeting, Town Hall. (A work session will be at noon.)
5/11 – 10AM               Kid’s Appreciation Day, Soccer Field behind Town Hall
5/16 –  6PM                 Community Center Board of Directors’ Meeting, Fire Station
5/27                            Memorial Day: Town offices will be closed.