City approves funding to build a fishing pier in downtown New Bern

Proposed site of Broad Street Fishing Pier in downtown New Bern, NC. (NBN Photo)
Picture of proposed site of Broad Street Fishing Pier in downtown New Bern, NC taken on April 13, 2024. (NBN Photo)

The city is working on plans to build a fishing pier at the end of Broad Street on the Neuse River in downtown New Bern, NC.

Foster Hughes, the city manager, presented a concept plan for the Broad Street Pier Project to the New Bern Board of Aldermen during the March 26, 2024 meeting.

He said that he had been working on the project with Robert “Bobby” Aster along with staff and other agencies.

According to Craven GIS map website, the proposed site is located at 400 E. Front Street. The property is designated as a road right-of-way. It’s adjacent to land owned by Craven County to the north and the Front Street Developers, LLC, to the south.

Alderman Aster said the pier would be approximately 225 feet long, 10 feet wide with a t-shape that would extend 50 feet on both sides.

Broad Street Pier Project in downtown New Bern, NC. (Image courtesy of City of New Bern)
Broad Street Pier Project in downtown New Bern, NC. (City of New Bern image)

Aster told the board that he would like to use $120,000 of ARP money to go toward funding the pier. He also said another agency may be able to fund $230,000.

Foster Hughes said the pier was the top priority and they would have to deal with the parking cost later. A consultant estimated the cost of including 25 parking spaces at approximately $400,000.

Alderman Rick Prill, Hazel Royal, Bobby Aster, Johnnie Ray Kinsey, Barbara Best, Robert “Bob” Brinson, Jr. and Mayor Jeffrey Odham voted to approve $120,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to go toward building the pier. They directed the Michale Scott Davis, the city attorney, to look into title issues and negotiate riparian rights with Craven County.

The Board of Aldermen approved the establishment of a Broad Street Pier Project Fund during their April 9 meeting.

The following week, the city manager presented the plan to the Craven County Commissioners and asked them to consider leasing riparian rights to the city on April 15.

Dennis “Denny” Bucher, the vice chairman, said, “People are parking where it says no parking.”

The city manager replied, “The big thing with people parking on the county property, is you know, if you want to put some signs up and you want to let us know that, hey, we want this enforced, the city will definitely enforce the no parking issue.”

Denny Bucher said, “These people are fishing, and it makes it difficult to walk on that walkway because you’re walking across fishing lines.” He continued, “They have a nasty habit, some of them of leaving litter when they get done with their fishing. Obviously, this pier would be an advantage for them.

He asked if people would be restricted “from parking and fishing along the walkway?”

Foster Hughes responded, “We would definitely restrict them from fishing, literally from Council Bluff all the way over past Sky Sail. No fishing along the riverwalk itself.”

Photo of proposed site of Broad Street fishing pier in downtown New Bern taken on April 13, 2024. (NBN Photo)
Photo of proposed site of Broad Street fishing pier in downtown New Bern taken on April 13, 2024. (NBN Photo)

Etteinne “E.T.” Mitchell asked about sanitary measures regarding fish cleaning.

Hughes replied, “We will not have a fish cleaning station on the pier.”

Bucher said, “It’s in my district…I think it’ll be an improvement from where we are today, and it’ll take those vehicles and people off of our property and the city’s property.”

Chairman Jason Jones, Commissioner Denny Bucher, Thomas Mark, Beatrice Smith, E.T. Mitchell, Shevel “Sherry” Hunt and Chadwick Howard approved the city’s request to lease riparian rights.

Arey Grady, the county attorney, will work with the city attorney on an agreement and other issues. Grady will come back to the BOC for final approval.

Learn about riparian rights by reading Who Owns the Water? Part 2 (Channelized) Surface Water by Richard Whisnant on the UNC School of Government’s website. reached out to the city for comment but had not received a response at press time.

By Wendy Card, Editor. Send an email with questions or comments.