04/19/06 — Tall ships coming: An exciting and challenging event

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Tall ships coming: An exciting and challenging event

The coming of the tall ships to Morehead City and Beaufort during the July Fourth holiday could be one of the biggest and most colorful events in the history of the Crystal Coast.

Early estimates projected an attendance of 150,000 visitors for the June 30-July 5 activities.

That would be great for local businesses, right?

The fact is that a few local businesses are considering closing down because of concern over overwhelming crowds and traffic gridlock.

Revised estimates of attendance have been lowered, but concerns remain, according to a report in the Carteret News-Times.

Local officials apparently are making a commendable effort to cope with the crowds. They are planning on such things as limiting vehicle access — providing visitor parking in outlying areas and shuttle services to the waterfronts where the tall ships, exhibits and entertainment activities are scheduled.

Huge crowds on limited infrastructures can lead to accidents. And there can be people suffering unexpected illnesses and needing emergency medical treatment. Town officials are looking at arrangements to route some patients to the hospital in New Bern or medical facilities in other towns to handle any overflow.

But an ambulance round trip to New Bern would tie the vehicle up for two hours. And one official suggested there could be “30-plus ambulance runs more than usual per day.”

One citizen said the event could cost the towns more than $10,000 in such things as increased trash and garbage collection and cleanup, and greatly increased hours for police protection.

But the coming of the tall ships is going to be an exciting, worthwhile and wholesome occasion for this state. And the towns of Morehead City and Beaufort have capable public officials and business leaders who will make it an upbeat and memorable occasion.

They recognize the problems — as they should — and appear to be performing commendably in anticipation of this great event.

Published in Editorials on April 19, 2006 11:50 AM