After years of delays, the solar-powered bathrooms at Brunswick Nature Park are expected to be open for business by the end of the month, Brunswick County officials said Jan. 9, 2012.
The bathroom building, a small, pre-fabricated structure bought by Brunswick County with money from a state grant, was installed at the 911-acre park on N.C. 133 south of Leland in 2004, said Jim Pryor, the county’s parks and recreation director.
The county originally intended to power the building with commercial electricity, but later decided to install solar panels, a move Pryor said will save the county money over time. The panels also are in tune with the department’s “green” message, he said.
The county’s development code, however, only allowed for the residential use of solar panels when the park was opened in 2009, so the department was forced to apply for a special variance for the building, a process that took about three months, Pryor said.
Parks officials also hope to use hydrogen-powered fuel cells as a backup energy source for the panels, and are working with Brunswick Electric Membership Corp. to install them, Pryor said.
On Jan. 9, 2011, parks and recreation crews were at the site – about two miles into the park from N.C. 133 – digging a well for the bathrooms.
Pryor said he hopes this will be the last step in the process.
“We have the septic field in place, we have the solar panels in place, now all we have to do is dig a well,” he said.”We expect we can have the building up and running soon.”
The rest of the park is a work in progress. Crews continue to develop hiking and horseback-riding trials as funding comes in, Pryor said.
To volunteer to help with trails projects, call the parks and recreation department at (910) 253-2670.
Date posted: January 10, 2012
User-contributed question by: