East Arcadia makes plea for park dollars

By: W. Curt Vincent - cvincent@civitasmedia.com

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County commissioners held a public hearing for comments on the proposed 2017-18 budget, and only a contingent from East Arcadia came to speak.

Lillian Graham, a town councilman from East Arcadia, and her granddaughter Brianna gave a presentation surrounding their hope for assistance from the county toward efforts to create a town park in East Arcadia.

“We are at the bottom of the bottom economically (in East Arcadia),” Lillian Graham said. “We have no jobs available … we are asking that you please consider us for some of your money for our park.”

She added that the town had taken on a plan that would create a park in stages. So far, a basketball court and playground have been established — but the plan calls for much more.

“The closest park we have is 30 miles away in Elizabethtown,” Brianna Graham said. “Parks are an integral part of a town’s quality of life and offers many positives.”

The board was told East Arcadia has a budget of $115,000 for the park.

“We aren’t asking you to fund it all or to build it for us,” Lillian Graham said. “We are asking that we receive a portion from the county, which we will match and exceed.”

County Chairman Charles Ray Peterson emphasized to the Grahams that the fiscal year 2017-18 budget, at this point, is a proposed one only and remains “a working document.”

No one else spoke on the proposed budget.

A second public hearing for comments on the fiscal year 2017-18 budget for economic development attracted no speakers.

In other action Monday, the board:

— Presented an Elderly Abuse Prevention Awareness Day proclamation to Vickie Smith, representing the Department of Social Services, and Kelly Robeson, representing the Division on Aging.

— Approved an Affordable Care Act repeal letter to U.S. congressmen from North Carolina, urging them to take a hard look at options, as presented by Bladen County health & Human Services Director David Howard. “We don’t want them to throw out the baby with the bath water, so to speak,” he said.

— Were presented a proposal by Peterson to accept putting “IN GOD WE TRUST” on all county facilities as offered by the U.S. Motto Action Committee. Peterson said there would be no cost to the county, and the commissioners unanimously approved the plan.

— Approved a fireworks display at Bay Tree Lakes on Saturday, July 1.

— Approved a fireworks display at Goldston’s Beach in White Lake on Tuesday, July 4.

The next meeting of the county commissioners will be Monday, June 19, at 6:30 p.m.

W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.


W. Curt Vincent