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Surf City Embarks On Park’s Construction

By Cece Nunn, posted Apr 19, 2024
Officials with the town of Surf City recently celebrated the start of construction on a new town park that will include a skate park and volleyball courts. (Rendering c/o Town of Surf City)
The mayor of Surf City recently said a new mainland park and recreation complex will “absolutely” be a draw for both tourists and residents.

Especially the skate park.

“When it’s too cold to surf, when there’s no waves, they’ll have an alternative to go and skateboard at our skate park,” said Mayor Teresa Batts.

The town’s parks, recreation and tourism department hosted a groundbreaking ceremony April 5 for the first phase of the Earl G. and Inez Batts Recreation Complex. In addition to the skate park, the initial phase will include an inclusive playground, sand volleyball courts, a picnic shelter, restroom facilities, parking and walking paths to existing trails.

In June 2019, the Surf City Town Council approved a Parks and Recreation Open Space Master Plan. The nearly 45.9-acre park site at 380 J.H. Batts Road was acquired from the Batts family (unrelated to the mayor) in 2020 for $500,000. A combination of grant money from the N.C. Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, The Land and Water Conservation Fund and the town is paying for the first phase.

“Our little town, especially the mainland area, is growing by leaps and bounds,” Batts said. “So having somewhere else besides the beach for kids to go and play is important. We have this really nice playground that will be up and running by the end of this year, and the park will give not just children but also adults a place to go to enjoy the outdoors.”

Batts said the number of tourists who come to Surf City to play continues to rise, with the town’s population jumping from about 4,500 normally to nearing 35,000 on the weekends during the summer.

A state study showed that visitor spending grew to nearly $190 million in Pender County as a whole, an increase of about 15% between 2021 and 2022 (the last year for which data was available as of press time). 

Pender County tourism officials said tourism in the county “is driven by natural resources and outdoor recreation, history, agriculture and aquaculture, and film. Pender County offers visitors all these attractions.”

Batts said Surf City welcomes a plethora of daytrippers.

“They’ll come to our beaches and play, and then they’ll go to our restaurants and eat; they’ll come to our stores and purchase items they need for the day,” Batts said. “So it is definitely a place where people love to come and play.”

Once the first phase of the Earl G. and Inez Batts Recreation Complex in Surf City is up and running, officials will focus on the second phase, which, Batts said, is expected to include many walking trails.

She said the town’s leaders aim to be proactive when it comes to recreational activities.

“We try to look at what our community needs,” Batts said, “how to keep our children occupied and keep them healthy.”
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