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What Oriental Needs...
Readers Give Their Take
March 4, 2017

t takes a village, yes, but also it takes a idea. We asked readers to send in their thoughts and suggestions of what Oriental could do better and concerns about how they see the town now. (Those ideas are also going to the Town Board in advance of its brainstorming retreat on March 24.)

A lot of pickleball is showing up in the in-box. So too, calls for a bike path. Improved streets. The look of Oriental. Affordable housing. Segregation. Just some of what readers are writing in about.

Here’re the latest:

We would like to suggest that the town board revisit the issue of the proposed bicycle path from the Gilgo/water tower area to White Farm Road. This would be a great asset to village residents as well as a safe way to bicycle between two separated sections of Oriental. The issue seems to have faded away as a priority post-election season.

Thank you,

Patrick and Jennifer Del Rio

I live on Ragan Road, which is a major thoroughfare into the town and beach and would like for you to address the problem of speeding on this street.

I have seen vehicles going way, way, way over the speed limit of 25 mph; some are going as fast as 45 or 50. I walk on this street and have to move way into the shoulder of the road to avoid potentially being hit and I do walk facing traffic.

Maybe reducing the limit to 15 mph and more patrolling of the street or speed bumps…something, anything would be better than nothing. Summer is coming and children and adults walk and bike to get to the beach.

Linda Page

For many years a local cleaning person was hired to empty the trash, mop the floor, etc. at the Oriental Post Office. I thought the person was out sick for awhile, until I asked the clerk why the floors were dirty and trash left on the floor, etc. He told me that they are now required to have a union person come from New Bern to clean the post office. (and I think he said it was just once a month). Not a welcoming sight for someone moving here or visiting here. Has someone looked into this matter? Do we need to recruit volunteers?

Marilyn Stern

I would like to see a Welcome to Oriental sign….a nice one at the beginning of the town limits….much like the one that used to be on the lot across from Red Lee’s when I first came here in 1999.

Kathie Mau

As has been said, it’d be good if more people came to Town Board and other government meetings. That is healthy for democracy.

More people would attend if they knew what was to be discussed. The problem is agendas for town government meetings are made public far too late – one or two business days before a meeting – if at all.

Posting agendas in a more timely manner would boost the chances that people would come to meetings. That change would make for more transparent government — good for elected officials and the public alike.

Thank you.
Melinda Penkava

I’d love to see the speed limit on Ragan Road be enforced. As you know, it’s a major walking street in town, with many groups and dogs walking in the road. Most motorists are good about going slow, but some are not and it can be very dangerous (and scary!). What’s the answer? Speed bumps? What else?

Peggy MacDonald

We are sincerely hoping that one of the topics under discussion for the board is the clearing of the drainage easement ditches. We have been trying to have this problem addressed since April 2014. While the drainage ditches in front of our and others’ property has been cleared and graded, it does no good if the easement ditch is still not clear. Water is still stagnating and lawns are still under water after rains. Please make this one of the issues to be addressed before mosquito season starts. Our concern is not only for Whittaker Point Rd, but throughout the town.

Thank you,

The Noto’s

The Oriental water treatment plant at the end of Gilgo St is, IMHO, an eyesore and could use a dose of concealment, ie. plant more waxed myrtles to improve the drive by appeal.


Jeff Conrad

I would like to add my voice to the comment made by another resident regarding the lights that Duke Energy replaced most recently with very bright LED type. The town should develop standards and ordinances to protect this natural resource (and fix the ones in place now)! I live in the Dolphin Point Area, and the lack of standards is obvious. There are no lights from Dolphin Road out to Whittaker Pointe Marina, while there is one on Albemarle, none on Bogue, and two on Easy Street. These 3 are of the new type. While in Dolphin Point development itself, there are 3 total lights, but of a completely different type (more like a tall driveway light with a gas light type enclosure and much less bright light.

Recently we were having dinner at Laylas and the light at the street comes directly into the restaurant, practically blinding people facing towards the door.

While there is a safety factor to consider, as another resident alluded to in their input, weighing safety against so-called light pollution needs to be accounted for, and lighting can be done in an attractive, and less obtrusive manner than Oriental currently has. I know that one of the things I fell in love with when we moved to Oriental 15 years ago was the beautiful night sky. In that time the sky has lost its darkness, and observing the milky way here in the “rural” Dolphin Point area is not what it once was.

p.s. – The International Dark-Sky Association says “shields for streetlights are available from every streetlight manufacturer, although your local utility may tell you otherwise”. Duke has told Oriental the ones they have installed do not have shields. I wonder!

Jeff Kenyon

These new LED lights that the town has had installed are horrendously bright and wash out the night sky. It’s called light pollution. For a town that is famous for the amount of sailboats it has, whose owners value being able to see the stars, it’s unbelievable that they have managed to obscure it.

At the very least they should have shields like the old ones. Duke Energy, the largest producer of electricity in the US (obviously they have no leverage with manufacturers) has told the Town no one makes shields to fit their lights. They also want to charge the town extra money if they shut off these lights that lots of people consider an annoyance. Now that makes sense, doesn’t it?

Joe Valinoti

Some TLC to the recreation park behind the Fire department would be nice. Trees that where planted have been blown over. The fitness path needs a lot of TLC – some stations are unusable and dangerous.

I think more people would use it if there was a gravel path to run/walk from station to station. The uneven grass makes for unsure footing; I twisted my ankles a few times so far. Why put in the recreation area if it is not going to be taken care of?

Thank you to everyone who has made us feel so welcome since we moved in. We love this little town.

The Wichrowski family on Broad Street

We love our new home in the 28571 zip code and all of the wonderful people and places in Oriental that we have met thus far.

What is quite unfortunate is the eyesore of the unfinished Fulcher building. Such a shame to ruin the lovely waterfront.
Will anything ever be done with it – finish it or tear it down?

Thanks for the opportunity.

Linda Walton
Dawson Bluff

What is the possibility of building a kayak storage rack at the public boat ramp at the end of Mideyette street ? I would love to be able to leave our kayaks locked to a secure permanent storage rack. We own a second home on Freemason St. If we don’t bring the pick up truck we have no way to get the kayaks to the boat ramp. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.


Tim Miller
Freemason St

A little more attention to the streets would be good. Dumping gravel in pot holes lasts about three or four weeks and is unsightly as well. There are also streets with no pedestrian access for three or four days after it rains (corner of S. Water and Main, as an example). Visiting boaters often stroll around the block from the Town Dock, but not after it rains. I believe some relatively simple engineering would solve many of these drainage issues. I would be happy to share my thoughts.

Hodges Street is a 15 MPH zone, but the signs are difficult to see and many don’t observe the limit. Painting the speed limit on the pavement near each end of Hodges and perhaps somewhere near S. Water street would help.

Oriental is a walking and biking town, but with few sidewalks. Some drivers slow down when passing pedestrians walking dogs or children, but many don’t. I know that I have been passed on Factory St by drivers going in excess of 45 MPH. Some signs around town indicating that Oriental is a pedestrian friendly and bike friendly town and asking drivers to exercise caution when passing would be useful.

Bill Reid
Main Street

Send in your ideas and concerns. Click here.

Please paint the pickle ball court lines on now what is called the tennis courts. I understood this was going to be done quite some time ago. There are many pickle ball players in Oriental who would use the courts. It is fairly cheap to do and would be a real crowd-pleaser.

Linda Applegate

Make Oriental and surrounding areas as bicycle and pedestrian friendly as possible.

Proactive about preventing a fast food franchise (McDonalds, etc..) from opening in or near Oriental. Concerned about more trash along the roads and loss of “Village character”.

Town should annex properties along Hwy 55 up to intersection of Straight Rd. for future control.

Walter Abercrombie

Although I live outside the town limits, I still consider myself an Orientalian. As such, since I contribute daily to the prosperity of Oriental (shopping for groceries, fuel, gifts, dining, etc.), I offer the following: My suggestion for an added amenity would be to provide pickleball facilities to the area residents. Initially, it would involve co-striping the tennis courts at Lupton Park for pickleball. This would facilitate both pickleball (the fastest growing sport in the country) and tennis (a sport with declining participation).

Secondly, I would advocate for the construction of a larger facility (4-6 courts or more) to be constructed near the town recreation area, behind the fire station. This could be an area hosting tournaments for the newly formed pickleball league, generating revenue for the town.

Lee Duer

Attack blight: Remove/demolish buildings that are falling down or in serious exterior disrepair. They are dangerous to people, are fire hazards (and can cause fires in adjacent property), unsightly (causing poor image to visitors/tourists) and depress property values. The number of such buildings within the town limits is growing, and has to be curbed and reversed quickly.

Russ Boltz

Oriental is a great place to live. It would be even better with freshly paved streets – gold is not necessary.

A bike path is also on my wish list.

Lew Carmichael

To whom it may concern,
I have ideas and concerns, and not many answers. But I would be willing to work with others to make better use of our local resources.

Idea: We have many artists living in and around town. What about developing a mini-Penland or Campbell style art/folklore school offering art and music classes?

Idea: How do we invite the interest of a major research university to conduct research and develop a permanent presence?

Idea: Partner with the Sound Rivers Association to develop photography/wildlife tours?

Idea: How can the town partner with the history museum to develop a welcome center/museum with a high profile? Might include meeting space and room for workshops and classes.

Concern: Young people seem to be leaving the area and returning only to visit family.

Concern: Oriental seems to be a segregated town with little diversity. Is this due to my limited perspective due to brief visits to town or a reality?

Marcia Ostendorff

1. At Bond Beach, move the parking area fence back to allow pull-in parking with signage stating “Pull-In Parking Only” to allow more parking at the beach.

2. Signage at the Wildlife Ramp for “Pull-In Only Parking” from the right of the Small Boat Ramp to the Wildlife Ramp sign. This would prevent one vehicle and trailer from blocking that entire side where 10 cars could park for paddling, fishing and site seeing.

3. Waterfront Walking Trail from the Wildlife Ramp to “Bond Beach” with a simple brochure (available at: Small Boat Dock, Dingy Dock, Town Docks #1 & #2, Lou Mac Park, Bond Beach) talking about Oriental, the points of interest along the waterfront and history of our waterfront.

4. Signage at Town Dock #2 encouraging visiting boaters to pull to the bulkhead to leave room for a second boat on each side and also to not block the pump-out. Dockage is free; they should at least be considerate of other visitors.

5. Some “Bright Spots” around town with flowers like the one in the parking lot next to Town Hall.

Additional dockage for day-trippers off the end of the dinghy dock and a new dock on town property at the end of Hodges on Camp Creek.

Also signing where we have benches at the ends of the street letting out on the river inviting people to use.

Bill Hines

Oriental is losing its affordable housing. As the real estate companies take over the ownership of the duplexes and studio housing, they put the rent at $600+ a month. Many of the duplexes and those studio houses on Midyette St. rented for much less than that. Our baristas and others will no longer be able to live in the village! One friend will be really out of luck as this person has no car and cannot move to Reelsboro or the like.

What happened to the idea of making a pathway from Gilgo past the water tower to the Piglet?

What happened to the idea of making a bikeway from the village to White Farm Road?

We have several empty buildings in the village, how can we make these a priority for new businesses opening up? Low cost loans for fix up? A tax deferral for a couple of years until the business gets established? Do you advertise for new businesses with a view to letting them know any perks you may be giving out?

Viewed as a resident, you are doing a great job. You proactively squelched the mosquito population last season with your very early morning spraying. You are fixing the pot holes. The town looks tidy, and will be more so with spring clean-up of the pine mulch in the roads and gutters. You are working on our infrastructure with the sewers, and I’m sure when this is finished the whole deal will be finished with cleaning the swales that lead to the drainage to the sewers. (Pineview Dr. hasn’t drained in years after rains.) You updated the water system at the end of Gilgo. You acknowledge all of the volunteer work done in town, especially the tree board. You put in the new brighter and lower energy cost LED street lights. And I’m sure there are more things you are doing and have done that I am overlooking. I just want to say, I think you are doing a good job. And I want to thank you for asking for our input on other items.

Thank you,
Carol Small

Hi Y’all:

Striping the tennis court to accommodate pickleball;

Whatever happened to the bike path?

More ditch cleaning, please (on Ragan Road?)

Thank you,
Judith Lynch

Our residents’ water/sewer/trash bill is astronomical. I have children in Atlanta and San Francisco that pay less than half what we pay. Vanceboro, NC is one third. What’s our problem?

I think the town should field a softball team in the local league.

Roger Cordes

Email link to send in your ideas and concerns

Posted Saturday March 4, 2017 by Melinda Penkava

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