Proposal to sell Jennette's Pier draws criticism

Posted June 18, 2014

— Outer Banks tourists and residents are voicing opposition to a legislative proposal to sell Jennette's Pier, an attraction that's part of the North Carolina Aquariums.

Lawmakers will consider the provision as they meet over the coming days to hash out competing versions of the state budget. The proposed sale wasn't included in the Senate budget, but House leaders consider it an opportunity to see how much the state can make off the Nags Head property – and how that money might bolster other state programs.

"It's a tool we are looking at to capitalize the Clean Water Management Trust Fund and look at state assets we could make money off of," Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, said.

But visitors to the facility, which is open to the public for fishing and other activities, say they don't think the pier would flourish under private ownership.

Families fish at Jennette's Pier House leaders propose sale of Jennette's Pier in Nags Head

"That would be a shame," said Yvonne DuBuy, a tourist who fishes at Jennette's Pier every time she's in town. "We don't want some city developer to get a hold of it. It would be a crime."

Jennette's Pier opened its doors only three years ago after a $25 million reconstruction project unanimously approved by the General Assembly in 2009. As part of that effort, local governments also pitched in money to get the facility back in operation after Hurricane Isabel destroyed most of it in 2003. For Nags Head, that amounted to $300,000.

Nags Head Mayor Bob Edwards says an existing agreement between the city and the state would make selling the pier a breach of contract.

"This is a perpetual agreement with no termination date on it," Edwards said.

Dare County Board of Commissioners Chairman Warren Judge said he never thought this would be an option for a facility that has proved to be so popular with tourists.

"This has become a regular stop in their tour to the Outer Banks now – spending a day at the pier, learning about life in the sea, on the sea and under the sea," Judge said.

He already sees it as a historic landmark, even if it was rebuilt only a few years ago.

"This is part of North Carolina," Judge said. "If government doesn't preserve our culture, our heritage and our history, the private sector won't do a good job at doing that."


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  • disgusted2010 Jun 19, 2014

    One more example of the shortsighted "leaders" we have today. It, like many other things, is an asset that cost a great deal to build/maintain; however, if they sell it the money will be spent for something fleeting and one day they will realize it should not have been sold, but it will be too late. Its like the general assembly selling all the houses and lots on Blount street. Now they have to rent buildings and build buildings and parking lots for the displaced state employees.

  • byrdunc Jun 19, 2014

    What does it cost the state every year? How much are the tax payers putting into this pier. Marc Basnight pushed this through and spend state money when we did not have it. There are no taxes paid on it. Who runs it now? Where does the money go to?

  • jmcdow2792 Jun 19, 2014

    The state (and State) should not be in the business of owning and operating businesses that compete with private business. Private business should own and pay taxes on such items. There is nothing unique about a fishing pier that justifies state ownership. It is not like a park on a unique property where emminent domain is required to attain and preserve the land. Sell it and don't spend public money in the future to build things that should be private.

  • Lou Epstien Jun 19, 2014

    This is a shame! If this is sold it will end up just like every other rundown fishing pier we have here. This is the nicest pier we have on our coast and should fight to keep it that way.
    Blah, blah, blah.....it cost so much to build.....blah, blah, blah it costs to walk out on it and to fish on it. So don't go....but there are thousands of us that enjoy it and don't mind paying for it. On top of that we go out there and spend money on gas, food, tackle, hotels, rentals props...etc........ALL LOCALLY OWNED!!......Do the math.

  • Donnie Dietrich Jun 19, 2014
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    I beleive that the taxpayers paid for this pier so unless we have the opportunity to vote on whether or not sell it, it should remain the property of NC

  • Deb Rodgers Jun 19, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    The same reason we have state parks, those bring tourists to our state, which in turn brings in money. Are you that short-sighted you can realize that?

  • archmaker Jun 19, 2014

    more nc gop government - knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing.

  • Carol Smith Jun 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Just another blow to our culture and our citizens.

  • William Unger Jr. Jun 19, 2014
    user avatar

    Interesting....I guess we will se how consistent the State is with their policies. The State wouldn't sell Dorthia Dix to Raleigh without a fair deal for the State. Will the same philosophy be used in selling this pier??? We will se:-)

  • Anita Woody Jun 19, 2014

    I wonder which big donor is behind the privatization of this pier?

    Something just doesn't smell right here and it ain't the buckets full of croakers out in the sun.

    This is about as fishy as turning the Department of Commerce into a non-profit so that some crony can use our tax dollars which will get granted to the nonprofit to make some ridiculous salaries. Haven't we seen this before with a nonprofit tasked to create jobs in rural NC?