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Debate over new park in Sunset Beach

READ MORE: Debate over new park in Sunset Beach
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SUNSET BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Sunset beach is looking for a new home for it's 50-year-old pontoon bridge. The town is eying a piece a property, where a lot of folks want see the bridge move and it certainly turned into a heated debate amongst Sunset Beach residents Monday night.

Many are focused on preserving their natural environment, but the price of the land is swaying people one way, or the other.

The town is considering purchasing 5 acres of undeveloped land for a future town park.

Sunset Beach Councilwoman Carol Scott says they should put the decision on hold. "I would opt for putting this off, trying to get more grant money, trying to negotiate that price further down and doing our work on setting the priorities for the town," said Scott.

The land has a price of almost $4 million dollars and that is something that does not sit well with taxpayers, especially in this rough economy.

Sunset Beach Mayor Ron Klein said, "Despite the way it might look to some of you out there, we're still bargaining on the piece of property so things can be worked out."

Some resident's feel the price is too high and that the land can be purchased for less than $3.75 million dollars. The town applied for grant money to help defray the cost but were denied any grants.

"Yea, we were unsuccessful in getting grants," said Sunset Beach Mayor Pro-Tem Lou Devita. "We thought we could get a big buy in, but we didn't do that. Our price has moved down because the real estate market has moved down."

Some of the town council members support buying the land while others are against it.
That's the same situation for residents of Sunset Beach. Many were not hesitant to voice their opinions.

Those who support the purchase say now is the time. They fear if they hold out any longer on the land that the price will go up. They're also scared a developer will come in and ruin the natural beauty that Sunset Beach has preserved for years.

"We can think about where we want to be at some point in the future and figure out how we are going to get there and use the downturn of this economy to our advantage the best way we know how," said Devita.

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