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  • David Pfefferkorn

"Pier" Review of the NEW Birdland Marina

Now that the new docks at Birdland Marina are nearing completion, a little newcomer background history might be in order. This marina is part of the 385-acre amenity property we purchased from Mid-South that has deteriorated over the years due to normal "wear and tear." We all love & enjoy our "green-space" amenities, but from day one, they were always intended to be self-supported and maintained by a separate Amenity Fee, not POA Dues. In addition, the marinas had slip fees, and the golf courses had green & cart fees. In summary, our “green” spaces have never been “free,”  they were always subject to the Amenity Fee, which, to make a very long story short, was ruled unenforceable by the NC courts. Mid-South bailed out in bankruptcy, and FH secured a loan to buy the amenities. In past years, the FH  BOD has wisely budgeted this project (as well as others) in stages and spread out gradually over future years to (1) permanently restore our infrastructure to a 20+ year service life while (2) NOT burdening us with a massive increase in POA dues.

With that background, what is the story on the new docks?

As those of us who had boats in the water during Hurricane Florence learned, “A Rising Tide Lifts” not only “All Boats" but also lifts Wooden Docks & Planking! After receiving bids from several contractors, seeing examples of their past work, and considering pricing, work quality, and availability, FH selected Riverfront Docks & Seawalls, a contractor specializing in heavily-constructed docks using concrete “hog slat” decking. After pulling up excess rotted pilings and removing the old wooden decking and supports, the main walkway & finger pier supports were mounted on the existing 12” pilings. Each piling has a 4x10” cross member on each side through-bolted with two galvanized 5/8” timber bolts per piling. 6x6” lumber was used for longitudinal stringers and additional under decking support for the hog slat. After each concrete slat was placed, 4x10” lumber was bolted on each side as edging, and the concrete deck was firmly bolted down, again using the same  5/8” timber bolts. The 80” wide main walkway was built with 5x10 ft slats with a 10” wood border on each side- plenty of room for dock carts or Docktails! The pilings will extend a uniform height of approximately 30 inches above the decking and will be covered with pointed caps to repel rainwater and seagulls! All cleats will be bolted and of sufficient size and number to accommodate most any sized boat. The concrete decking will be higher above the water than the old dock, keeping them "dry" during "routine" storms. This increased height and dry decking will also make boarding/securing your vessel easier & safer in adverse conditions.

A Personal Testimonial:  My wife Leigh and I replaced our all-wood dock TWICE before purchasing this type of dock for our cottage on the Pamlico River. Even with a seven-mile fetch from the south, it has withstood many subsequent hurricanes (including Irene passing directly overhead!) We even added a 30ft hog slat T-Dock extension to the existing wooden dock when we moved to our Gondolier home last year. Take it from us: these heavy, well-constructed hog slat docks are easy on the feet, maintenance-free, and built to be virtually hurricane-proof!

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