Markers, maps and hopes were on the agenda for a visioning workshop discussing the future of Sneads Ferry.
Sneads Ferry residents at Dixon Elementary School participated in the recent workshop to share their vision for the unicorporated area.
The workshop began with a presentation from Stephen Stansbery, vice-president of Kimley-Horn and Associates of Charlotte, a consulting firm assisting Onslow County with the Sneads Ferry plan. During his presentation, Stansbery reviewed previous assessments, including a feasibility study by the North Carolina Department of Transportation in 2013 that laid out several alternatives to address a problem several residents in attendance said was the biggest one: traffic.
“I want to see the elimination of the traffic problems, especially the congestion during morning and evening rush hour,” Sneads Ferry resident Bob Bryant said. “I’m not criticizing the base or anything. They have to do what they have to do.”
The assessment came up with several solutions, including a trumpet interchange at the intersection of U.S. 17 and N.C. 210 and a flyover at the intersection of N.C. 172 and N.C. 210. The proposed solutions could cost $130.1 million as well affect 40 businesses and 18 residences, according to Stansbury. None of those proposals have been “set in stone,” he added; input from residents would help paint a clearer picture of what needs to be done to accommodate the growing number of cars on the road.
“We always say ‘someone else will make decisions for you if you don’t plan, and those decisions might not be in agreement with what the community as a whole wants to see,’” Jonathan Whitehurst, senior planner at Kimley-Horn said.
The workshop allowed attendees to post comments on the back wall of the school’s cafeteria they wanted to share about the area’s future. A couple of the more common words were “education” and “safety.”
Nicole O’Neil, a Sneads Ferry native, said safety was one of her biggest concerns not only regarding traffic, but also crime for the region.
“We’re going to need more than one sheriff’s deputy patrolling the streets,” O’Neil said. “My generation is ready for growth, but I don’t think the older generation is ready. We need something better for this community.”
Participants were also asked to write a word to describe the area. Charlene Griffiths, another Sneads Ferry resident, used “uncontrolled” in terms of growth, as housing developments and apartment complexes continue to pop up around the region.
“There’s no sense of what’s going up and how fast,” Griffiths said. “I’m glad there’s some sense of planning, but I don’t know enough about it. We’ll have to see what happens. I hope something good comes of it.”
Whitehurst said he was pleased by the way the workshop went, especially by the enthusiasm presented by the workshop’s participants.
“There was a lot of energy in the group and a lot of diversity,” Whitehurst said. “We felt like we got a good cross-section of the community and they had a great love for Sneads Ferry. We got good information we can use down the road as we develop plans.”
Whitehurst said it was too early to tell how the comments will affect possible designs for the Sneads Ferry region. Maps and documents from the presentation are on plansneadsferry.com.