Martin Marietta Park plans include new dog park, amphitheater

(Photo courtesy of City of New Bern)

NEW BERN, Craven County - Tuesday night, the City of New Bern Board of Aldermen directed the city manager to move forward with finalizing a land donation agreement that will result in the City's largest ever park.

Martin Marietta, the current owner of approximately 55 acres along S. Glenburnie Road (across from the NCDOT Bridge Maintenance office and formerly used as a rock quarry), presented the City with a proposal earlier this month to donate the land under recommended usage.

City Manager Mark Stephens sought direction from the Board on the matter, Item 6 on Tuesday's agenda, and presented the Board with the optional use. The Board agreed whole-heartedly that City Manager Mark Stephens should move forward with the land donation agreement and plans to create a new city park.

"What you are going to see here is a future dog park, an amphitheater -- a master plan for the city of New Bern as far as recreation is concerned," New Bern Mayor Dana Outlaw said.

Martin Marietta's donation coincides with the City's vision to create a regional park with multi-recreational opportunities and the potential of an outdoor amphitheater capable of hosting various entertainment and performances. In exchange for the donated land, the company has requested that all advertising, broadcasts, and print materials describe the venue "at Martin Marietta Park" and feature their logo.

They've also requested that Martin Marietta aggregate products be used exclusively in the construction and development of the site. The company stated in its proposal letter that it understood the city would have to raise funds for the project, even to consider amphitheater naming rights.

"This is key -- this is integral," Jeffrey Odham, the City of New Bern Alderman of the Sixth Ward said. "It's the first step in the process towards getting us the property that we need to actually make some big plans."

These 55 acres complete a contiguous stretch of land and lakes totaling approximately 888 acres that will now be owned by the City of New Bern. The stretch of land was formerly used as a rock quarry and includes three man-made lakes.

The city's vision is to create a regional park with multi-recreational and cultural opportunities like walking trails and a new dog park. The proposed centerpiece, however, is an outdoor amphitheater, which will be capable of hosting various large entertainment events and performances.

The scope and size of amenities at the future Martin Marietta Park will be determined after further study. However, the rise in the number of outdoor concerts and entertainment in New Bern supports development of such a venue.

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