The Williamston Waterfront Redevelopment District is a collection of former industrial properties, vacant lands and wetlands totaling 47 acres along the scenic Roanoke River. Adjacent to North Carolina Wildlife Resources Game Lands, the Roanoke River National Wildlife Refuge, a public boat access and a major state highway, the site is uniquely positioned to connect visitors and the local community to significant natural assets and recreational opportunities.
Situated on one of the few navigable rivers in the state, the area is characterized by a rich maritime history, as well as a history of industrial use which led to contamination across several of the properties. In 2011, the Town of Williamston was awarded $400,000 in grants from EPA’s Brownfields Program to assess the contaminated sites in the River Road area, develop cleanup plans, and work with the community to explore how the properties can return to productive use and revitalize the area. On June 18, 2013, community members gathered at Moratoc Park to work toward a shared vision for redevelopment of the properties in the Williamston Waterfront Redevelopment District. In recognition of the area’s significant natural, recreational and cultural assets, participants endorsed an eco-tourism theme to guide investments in the area that increase access to the Roanoke River while promoting sustainability, regional heritage and ecological awareness. Community members envisioned a range of features and activities to support the theme and local economy, from birding and boat tours to seasonal restaurants and supply stores. A copy of the Reuse Concept Plan can be found by clicking the link below.
In 2015, the Town was awarded a grant in excess of $350,000 to cleanup two sites located on River Road between Moratoc Park and the public boat access. Cleanup was completed in late 2016 and included the excavation and disposal of over 1,100 tons of contaminated soil. Over 3,300 cubic yards of clean fill material was imported to fill excavated areas, a large excavation left from previous, unfinished efforts, and complete final grading. In April 2017 a community outreach event was held in conjunction with the Roanoke River Partners Spring Paddle Days event to celebrate this cleanup and the addition of a community asset.