Roanoke Island Festival Park Faces Uncertain Future

May 29, 2013

The Elizabeth II historical ship is a main attraction at Roanoke Island Festival Park.
Credit NC Department of Cultural Resources

The history-themed Roanoke Island Festival Park on the Outer Banks may have an uncertain future. Two years ago, lawmakers passed a bill that stipulated the park be self-supporting by 2015. The bill called for systematic reductions in state funding to the site over the next 4 years. That gradual implementation was overlooked in the budget proposal Governor Pat McCrory submitted this year - and instead slashed all funding. So far this session, the general assembly shows no signs of reinstating it.

"There's already been several years of investment by the state to make this attraction as special as it," says Lee Nettles, executive director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau. "It would be a shame to cast that to the side. I've got to believe there's a way to facilitate that transition. And hopefully then we continue to have an asset both for the outer banks and for the state."

The park is managed by both the Roanoke Island Commission and Friends of Elizabeth II. The latter group was established in the 1980's to build and maintain a life-sized working model of the ship that brought the first English colonists to America.

For more on this story, see this article in The Outer Banks Voice.