Park move to Fair Bluff back in state budget

Language to move the primary office and headquarters of the Lumber River State Park to Fair Bluff was restored to a version of the budget released on the General Assembly web site Monday night following several days of deliberations by a House of Representatives/Senate conference committee.

The Senate had included the provision in its version of the budget, which passed that chamber on May 12, but  when the bill reached the House of Representatives, the language was removed by the House Appropriations Committee. The bill passed the full House on June 2 without the state park provision.

A conference committee has been working since then to iron out the differences in the two chambers’ bills. One member of that conference committee was Sen. Bill Rabon, R-Brunswick, a Fair Bluff native who had originally gotten the state park language included in the original Senate bill.

The legislation, as revised by the conference committee, now will be voted on by both the House and Senate. Passage, probably along party lines, is expected by both chambers. The bill then will go to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to veto the legislation. It is anticipated that the General Assembly will overrule the governor’s expected veto.

Although the language in the most recent version of the bill says the Division of Parks and Recreation “may” move the park’s “primary office and headquarters” to Fair Bluff, Rabon said when the legislation originally passed the Senate that the Division had bought into the legislation and in fact would move the headquarters if the legislation ultimately passes.

See more details in Thursday’s print edition of the News Reporter.