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Bill Haneman donated the deed to 6001 Mariner Lane to the city of Wilmington for use as a park in honor of his father, Capt. Eddy Haneman, above.
A resolution officially accepting the deed to 6001 Mariner Lane located in Seagate between Park and Hinton avenues for use as a public recreation park passed unanimously during Wilmington’s city council meeting last week. The deed to the property was donated by Bill Haneman on the condition the park be dedicated to the original owner of the property, his father Edward John Haneman, or as he was better known, Captain Eddy.
Captain Eddy was a well-known figure in Wrightsville Beach’s fishing community in the 1950s through the 1990s.
Haneman requested that the new park contain a playground, benches, bike racks, landscaping and a memorial plaque with the words, “This park is dedicated to the public, in memory of Captain Eddy Haneman and his wife Mary Haneman.”
“I was fortunate enough to be a dock rat down at Wrightsville Beach when I was a kid,” said council member Charlie Rivenbark. “Captain Eddy let me get in his way more than once. There’s not enough kind words to be said about him ... and the great fishing holes he knew. ... He was the first person I ever heard, when someone asked him where he caught this fish and that fish, who said ‘right in the mouth.’”
Council also unanimously approved a resolution designating a tree near the Rotary Wheel in Greenfield Lake Park as the new location for Wilmington’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony. This will be the second location for the ceremony since the city decided to abandon “The World’s Largest Living Christmas Tree” due to the poor health of the live oak tree in northern Wilmington’s Hilton Park.
Councilwoman Laura Padgett said she approved the resolution “with great nostalgia and sadness.”
The ceremony has taken place in Wilmington every year since 1928, with the exception of 2010 and one year during World War II. In 2010, the event was cancelled due to safety concerns resulting from construction at the nearby Sweeney Plant.
In 2011, the event was moved to Riverfront Park downtown, where Mayor Pro Tem Earl Sheridan lit a 30-foot artificial tree. The city also planted a tree in Legion Stadium with the intent of establishing that location as the new venue for the tradition. However, that changed this year when the Rotary Club approached the city and offered to provide the holiday tradition near the Rotary Wheel in Greenfield Lake Park with minimal support from the city.
In addition to this year’s official Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Greenfield Lake Park, the city will light the tree in Legion Stadium. The downtown business alliance will also continue to light last year’s artificial tree downtown in Riverfront Park.
“We’re going to be lighting up trees all over the place,” Sheridan said.
City traffic manager Don Bennett conducted a presentation proposing improvements that would protect historic Kenan Fountain at the intersection of Fifth Street and Market Street downtown. The past five years have seen 20 instances of cars crashing into the fountain, bench or wall at the intersection.
Out of those 20 crashes, 17 have been at night, 10 were confirmed to be related to alcohol, three were weather related, three were related to avoidance maneuvers and three were the result of a distracted driver. Bennett proposed a series of short term and long term solutions to the problem.
Short term solutions examined by Bennett included increasing lighting, installing additional signage or raised reflectors in the road and installing flexible posts along the approach to the intersection.
Long term solutions included installing rumble bars or textured pavement approaching the intersection, reducing Market Street to a one-lane road, building a roundabout and relocating the fountain.
In the immediate short term, Bennett recommended increasing lighting around the intersection by switching current street lights to newer, brighter LED lights, which will increase visibility and draw the attention of distracted drivers back to the road.
“This fountain is not just something that happens to be in our way,” Rivenbark said. “For several generations, this has been a very historic landmark. ... Are we going to continue to put it in harm’s way or are we going to protect it?”