Year in Review 2023: New Bern and Craven County

Downtown New Bern, N.C. (NBN Photo)
Downtown New Bern, N.C. (NBN Photo)

As the year comes to an end, New Bern Now looks back on top stories related to New Bern and Craven County government we brought to you in 2023.

New Bern Board of Aldermen

-The empty lots located at 304 and 308 South Front Streets, known as the “Talbots Lots,” were sold for $825,000 to Betty Wilson. The property was later gifted by Betty and her late husband, William G. Wilson, to Tryon Palace Foundation for the development of Wilson Park.

-The Tisdale House was moved from Broad Street to Rhem Avenue to make way for construction of the new Stanley White Recreation Center. It was offered to the public for free. Applications were reviewed by the New Bern Preservation Foundation. It was given to Dan Tower. The Craven GIS website shows the preservation foundation sold the property to Tower for $55,000.

-Work is underway on the new Stanley White Recreation Center. T.A. Loving was awarded the contract with the lowest bid of $13,180,400. According to Davenport & Co., a financial advisory company, design and other costs for the project will cost approximately $1.1 million.

-The new Pleasant Hill Community Center opened at 424 Highway NC 55. The building was constructed by Tru-Coat, Inc. The project cost was $300,000.

-The new Annex and Elevator opened at City Hall. The project cost over $4 million to construct.

-Construction began on the Redevelopment Commission project located at the corner of Walt Bellamy Drive and Jones Street. The BOA authorized $547,000 of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to be used to build three small houses on 0.36 acres for “low-to-moderate income families”.

-The parking lot on Pollock Street across from City Hall was converted from leased spaces to a daily pay-by-plate or pay as you go option for drivers. People who use the parking lot will be charged $1 per hour for parking plus a transaction fee of .45 cents per transaction.

-The BOA approved the expansion of the downtown zone exempted from off-street parking. The ordinance change allows new businesses to occupy an existing building without having to meet parking requirements.

-The New Bern Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan committee and the Municipal Services District committee were established.

-The Board of Aldermen intends to lease Kafer Park, located at 603 George St., to New Bern Baseball, LLC, for $20,000 a year for a collegiate baseball program and other activities. Alec Alred, co-founder of Old North State League, made a proposal to the board earlier this summer stating they would renovate the ballpark by expanding the dugouts, fixing the playing surface, putting in bullpens and building the grandstand, building a beer patio and other things. A public hearing is scheduled during the BOA’s January 23 meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Craven County Commissioners

-The Sudan Temple property was purchased by the county for $6 million plus closing costs. The commissioners allocated $373,750 for hazardous materials abatement services and the development of a master plan for the property.

-The consolidated fuel station opened for county vehicles at 1080 Clarks Road adjacent to the Craven County Judicial Center. The $1.3 million project was designed by JF Petroleum Group.

-Craven County’s 2023 tax revaluation that led to an average increase of 42.03% in local property valuation.

-An ABC retail store and a warehouse opened in Bridgeton. Farrior & Sons was the contractor for the nearly $6 million project. Additionally, FLOCK video devices were installed to capture licenses plates on ABC store properties in Bridgeton, Havelock and Vanceboro.

-The new Craven Area Rural Transit System (CARTS) building at 1106 Clarks Road opened. The project cost $1.8 million.

-A total of $8,681,861 million was approved to expand Craven County’s Department of Social Services building.

– The North Carolina Coastal Land Trust transferred the deed for the 172-acre Brices Creek Nature Preserve to the cunty. The property is located off both Old Airport Road and County Line Road near the entrance to Blue Water Rise.

By Wendy Card, co-editor. Send an email with any questions or comments.