Nags Head’s shopping list includes old Dowdy’s

By on March 21, 2012

Hurricane Irene flooded Fin N' Feather. (Rob Morris)

Town officials are looking at acquiring open space and have their eyes on a handful of properties, including the now-closed Fin N’ Feather Waterside Inn on the Nags Head-Manteo causeway and the Dowdy’s amusement park land.

Town commissioners are negotiating with Fin N’ Feather to buy the site, Mayor Bob Oakes said. The location is attractive because of its potential as a public boating access.

Motel owners were expected to respond to the town’s offer by Wednesday night.

Built in 1968, the Fin N’ Feather went out of business last September after it was damaged during Hurricane Irene. The gross market value of the 10-room motel on Pond Island is $860,100, according to Dare County tax records.

The motel is still standing at the site. If the town does purchase the property, it would raze the building and construct a parking lot and boat ramp, Oakes said.

Money for land acquisition would likely come from the town’s fund balance and anticipated increases in sales and occupancy tax revenues that officials expect this year, according to the mayor.

The town, he said, has a significant fund balance of between 60 and 70 percent. State law requires an 8 percent fund balance.

“We are looking for the best bang for the buck for the town,” he said.

Dowdy's amusement park down several years ago.

Other properties on the town’s list include the Dune Burger at Whalebone Junction, the old Dowdy amusement park site on the bypass at milepost 11 and the Dowdy go cart site on South Virginia Dare Trail near Tortugas’ Lie.

The board is also looking at five acres of vacant land between the highways at milepost 13, just south of Jockey’s Ridge known as the old post office lots.

“We are looking for the best deal for the town to acquire more open space,” Oakes said. “There are not many large tracts left. In 20 years, the land won’t be there and there will be a huge value in having open space.”

Owners of the Dune Burger, also damaged during the September storm, say they plan on re-opening the drive-in restaurant at Whalebone Junction in several weeks for the tourist season but plan to put the property on the market soon.

Doug Graham said he and his wife Dorothy purchased the Dune Burger back in 1978. Now 81, Graham said he is ready to sell the property.

“We’ve had it long enough,” Graham said last week.

Dune Burger is next to Whalebone Park. (Rob Morris)

The town is currently developing Whalebone Park to the north of the Dune Burger site. Roberta Thuman, the town’s public information officer, says the one and a half acre park is now in the first phase of construction. When completed, itwill include a playground, walking trails and possibly a bocce ball court.

Thuman said the town is waiting to hear whether it will receive a $75,000 grant from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources before it moves into phase two.

The Dune Burger property has a gross market value of $537,500, according to Dare County tax records.

The old Dowdy carnival site at milepost 11 across from the Outer Banks Family YMCA is listed by Harrell & Associates for $2.45 million and is on 4.9 acres. It is located just north of Nags Head Elementary School. The county tax office lists the gross market value of the property as $2.8 million.

The old post office site at milepost 13 is listed by Southern Shores Realty for $1.25 million.

The go-cart site on the beach road has a gross market value of $1.4 million.

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