Jeff Wenzel, Mayor
Jeff Wenzel, Mayor of Holly Ridge, NC, and fellow Kiwanian gave the Club an update on happenings in the second, fastest-growing small town in North Carolina. Holly Ridge is a gateway to Topsail Island, but also strategically located between Wilmington and Camp Lejeune on US 17, a major corridor in eastern NC. Thus, a focus for Holly Ridge is commercial growth that brings new industries who customers can be served by US17.
Mayor Wenzel touted the recently-completed Phase 1 of the Camp Davis Industrial Park , which is a large 60 acre tract adjoining US17 that has 45 acres developed containing 11 commercial lots of which 9 have been sold. Jeff moved his photography and graphics company to one of buildings in the Park. Other small businesses have also moved into the Park. A major tenet is Onslow Bay Boatworks, a high end boat builder, who has consolidated its operations into the Park. A second major tenet will be Atlantic Seafood, the major supplier of fresh sea food in eastern NC and beyond. Both companies are bringing high paying jobs to Holly Ridge. Crete Concrete has also opened a ready mix plant in the Park. With the immediate success of Phase 1, plans for expansion of an additional 60 acres for Phase 2 are underway.
Holly Ridge has a small town appeal that has attracted many new residents. Given the close location of Wilmington, Jacksonville, and Camp Lejeune, opportunities for nearby employment that are easily accessible by US17 has led to Holly Ridge’s second-fastest growing, small town moniker. No doubt the Hampstead US17 highway bypass under construction will result in continued growth for Holly Ridge both commercially and residentially.
Citizen surveys have shown a demand for additional recreation facilities and programs in Holly Ridge. Plans are underway to make improvements to the ball park in town as well as adding additional sports opportunities for the ball/municipal park facility. Plans also include adding walking paths to the municipal park as well as developing a dog park so popular in many towns.
This past summer the Town partnered with the Surf City Park and Recs Department to host a summer camp in Holly Ridge. This collaboration between Surf City and Holly Ridge will continue with other programs for kids as well.
Discussions are underway to develop a multi-use path corridor between Holly Ridge and Surf City so that bicyclists, walkers, runners, and other users could one day travel between their home in Holly Ridge and the Topsail Island ocean shoreline without the need for carbon-emitting, vehicular transportation.
Jeff mentioned the NC Coastal Federation research facility at Morris Landing where the Federation continues to seek improvements in their model for ‘living shorelines’ i.e. those constructed with bags of oyster shells to break up wave action along the shoreline and then planted with marsh plants behind the bag sill to stabilize the marsh from erosion. Parking and a pier is available for visitors to observe living shorelines in action.
Mayor Wenzel also introduced the newly-appointed Chief of Police, Michael Sorg, Jr. and Captain CJ Waddell both of whom have had previous experience working together in different law enforcement capacities.
Improvements to Town Hall have been made and expansion of the facility are in the planning stages so that the Town can meet its growing demand for services.
To learn more about the Town of Holly Ridge, click here for the Town webite