WILMINGTON — Amusement rides at the Carolina Beach boardwalk could be making a comeback.
The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Committee voted in favor of extending a conditional use permit for Carolina Beach Land Holdings LLC to use multiple lots they own in the boardwalk area to bring the amusement rides and vendors back.
The permit extension would be from 2021 through 2026 and allow the amusement park to open at least six months each year.
Hours of operation would be from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and the facility would remain open an additional hour until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.
Town Manager Bruce Oakley said the amusements have been a big attraction on the Carolina Boardwalk for some time, with arcades, rides and games lining the boardwalk from 2009 to 2019.
"I think visitors and most residents enjoy the family friendly atmosphere of the amusements and I'm sure the local businesses on the boardwalk appreciate the additional foot traffic they generate," Oakley said.
In September 2019, the amusement park closed for the season, planning to reopen Memorial Day weekend in 2020. Then COVID-19 happened and the park announced on its Facebook page in September last year that it would not reopen until further notice.
"I think most people look forward to their return after not having them this past summer because of the pandemic and social distancing guidelines," Oakley said. "Hopefully, the vaccines will reduce cases enough that they can operate at full or near full capacity."
The conditional use permit will go before the Carolina Beach Town Council for a vote at its Jan. 12 meeting. The public will have a chance to comment in person at the meeting.
If the permit is approved by the council, the park would have to follow any current statewide or local orders regarding COVID-19 restrictions during the time they are planning to operate.