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Apr 1, 2024

As the Weather Warms, New Hanover County Remains Committed to Keeping Things Green

Sponsored Content provided by Chris Coudriet - County Manager, New Hanover County Government

The doldrums of winter are finally nearing their end. After months of navigating blustery winds, looking at gray and brown landscapes, and dealing with frigid temperatures, spring is starting to take hold here in southeastern North Carolina.  

Seeing things turn green and warm up reminds us of the beauty associated with living in this special place. Enjoying Mother Nature is something many of us like to do, especially as the weather begins improving.  

For those of us working for New Hanover County, we’re guided each day by our shared values to be good stewards of the fiscal resources entrusted to us – but it’s equally important to ensure and enhance the natural resources that make our community a wonderful place to call home. 

With spring underway and Earth Day set for Monday, April 22, it’s a timely moment to pause, celebrate and share the work being done each day across the county to provide ample green space, preserve nature and protect the environment in our community. 

In late March, we officially opened the newest addition to our county’s extensive parks and gardens portfolio. Located at 6101 Carolina Beach Road, Hanover Pines Nature Park is the 17th facility overseen by our dedicated Parks and Gardens team. This 42.5-acre complex features a 1.25-mile walking trail, unique owl-themed playground space for children, a picnic shelter, the county’s largest dog park and an abundance of undeveloped natural space, allowing for opportunities to learn about our area’s natural ecosystem.  

Between the 17 parks and gardens and other outdoor areas overseen by the county, our organization has approximately 1,800 acres of greenspace set aside in our community, an impressive number, considering our entire county is only 199 square land miles.  

Additionally, there will soon be even more open space as the final stages of redevelopment continue on the front lawn at the Government Center. Located where part of the former Government Center site used to be, this open space will have an art installation, native trees and plants, and gathering areas for public use. It will also feature environmentally focused assets like infiltration and nutrient uptake through a storm water retention area.  It’ll effectively be the front lawn to the Government Center.   

Keeping these sites looking beautiful requires a dedicated team, and our Parks and Gardens crew is certainly up to the task. And make no mistake, this group takes pride in their work while also being environmentally conscious.  

Rechargeable technology, like lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers, are currently being utilized by several Parks and Gardens maintenance crews at various sites, including Government Center. As this equipment is tested and vetted, opportunities to expand their use at larger facilities will be discussed. This is one of several steps the county is looking at as part of the current strategic plan through 2028 to reduce the organization’s carbon footprint by 25 percent over the next five years.  

While maintaining and preserving county-owned natural resources is important, I’d be remiss if I didn’t highlight the plan recently approved by our Board of Commissioners from the Soil and Water Conservation District to address pollution in the Pages Creek Watershed.  

This project, which features green infrastructure like living shorelines and bioretention areas, will help restore water quality to the watershed while filtering stormwater for pollutants before it enters the waterway. The work by our Soil and Water Conservation District team continues to be at the forefront of creatively addressing pollution.  

All of these are ways the county is working for a greener community – but you can play a significant role, even with simple, everyday activities.    

Our new customer convenience center at the county landfill has made it easier to dispose of waste, helping reduce litter and extend the life of the landfill. And even though it’s gotten easier to use the landfill, we certainly hope you’ll take advantage of the expanded list of items that are now accepted as part of our recycling program. These include containers made of paper, like coffee cups and milk cartons, as well as No. 5 plastics you would get while ordering take-out food. And yes, even single-use beverage pods are now recyclable if the contents of these pods are dumped out.  

By sending these items to our Materials Recovery Facility, we can keep reusable materials out of the landfill and give them a second life.  

From creating green space, to clean water ways, to reducing emissions and waste, together we will preserve what makes our community a special place to call home.

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