Gov. Pat McCrory combined celebration and a call to action in a visit to Hammocks Beach State Park Tuesday to gather more support for the Connect NC bond initiative.
The celebration was for the addition of 289 acres on the mainland of the coastal park, the result of a settlement with the heirs of the Hurst family. The Governor met with members of that family who attended the event and congratulated them on maintaining the family’s legacy of conservation.
McCrory asked the more than 100 state parks supporters present to contact members of the N.C. General Assembly to place the bond referendum before voters this year. Bond approval would result in $67.3 million for capital and land acquisition projects at 28 state parks, including $1.5 million to begin building recreation facilities on the property acquired at Hammocks Beach. The Governor made a similar plea June 11 at Pilot Mountain State Park where almost $6 million would be earmarked for a visitor center and related facilities.
“Our investment in Hammocks Beach will allow the park to operate year-round by providing an expanded mainland area for environmental education and popular outdoor recreation areas,” McCrory said. “Improvements at Hammocks Beach and other state parks will allow us to meet the needs of our growing state population and to ensure these cherished assets are preserved for generations to come.”
In his argument for the $2.85 million bond package for transportation and infrastructure, McCrory recalled the initiatives of U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt and Dwight Eisenhower that, he said, benefitted a generation of Americans in the areas of conservation and transportation.
Connect NC projects will benefit every community across the state while creating thousands of jobs along the way and taking advantage of record low interest rates. Because of the state’s fiscal strength and strong balance sheet, no tax increase is needed to fund the bonds and the state’s AAA bond rating would be preserved.
“We are very excited for this capital infusion in state parks, and I think our population will really benefit from the new visitor centers, new campgrounds, new trails and new day use facilities,” said Mike Murphy, state parks director. “It will be a wide range of new opportunities for our citizens and visitors to enjoy the parks.”
Learn more about the Connect NC bond proposal here.