By Bill Murray | April 15, 2021 at 3:22 PM EDT – Updated April 15 at 8:01 PM
SOUTHPORT, N.C. (WECT) – Welcome to Southport — granted, the welcome mat still needs dusting off a bit with the Howe Street construction project well underway, but show up and you’re guaranteed a smile.
“We’re excited about what the season holds,” said Ashley Kincaide, the general manager of Dry Street Pub and Pizza. “I think people are just ready to get out. They’re getting vaccinated and they’re just ready to get out.”
The digging that’s happening on Howe Street is actually digging up the past. Not quite an archeological dig, but what’s coming to the surface is old. The work being done is replacing sewer infrastructure that’s over a century old.
The flashing street sign on the approach into downtown reminds visitors the sidewalks and shops are open. The project is 12 blocks long and has been done in stages. The most recent completion date has been pushed back to early July.
“It’s all about the promise of a brighter future,” said Mayor Joseph Hatem. “As more people get immunized, the safer we’re going to be, so we’re opening up in stages.”
The “Steady as She Goes” campaign focuses on reinstating some outdoor programs on a limited scale and opening facilities safely including the city’s visitors center, Garrison Lawn, Indian Trail Tree meeting Hall, and City Hall on June 1.
All venues will continue to follow Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order and CDC/NCDHHS guidelines to create a safe environment for all citizens and visitors as they open.
“People need to realize if you have a healthy community, you’ll have a thriving economy,” Haten explained. “It’s a cascade of positive events and we’re steady as she goes.”
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