State officials announce grants to improve public beach and coastal waterfront access

Morehead City, NC

The state Division of Coastal Management has awarded more than $1 million to eight local governments to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2019-20 fiscal year.

“North Carolina continues to fund coastal waterfront access projects that allow people of the state and its visitors to enjoy our coastal waters and beaches as a key part of our coastal economy,” said Michael S. Regan, secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. “

The division awarded grants to the following local governments:

  • Nags Head received $47,232 for beach access improvements to include a parking area (with handicapped accessible parking), at-grade walkway connecting to existing crossover, lighting, shower, trach can, bike rack, landscaping, stormwater retention area and signage.     
  • Pasquotank County received $79,750 for Pasquotank River Boardwalk Public Access Improvement Phase III replacement of approximately 750 linear feet of boardwalk decking and railing along the Pasquotank River and on the canoe/kayak launch. 
  • Atlantic Beach received $88,750 for replacement of approximately 430 linear feet dune crossover at the Durham Avenue Public Beach Access.  
  • City of Washington received $280,560 for replacement of approximately 976 feet of the existing wooden boardwalk. 
  • Carolina Beach received $195,500 for the acquisition of a .14-acre lot for public beach access parking.
  • Kure Beach received $100,866 to replace the existing beach access 1004.5 crossover that has stairs with an 8-foot wide, ADA compliant flat ramp and add solar lighting.           
  • Oak Island received $148,500 for the renovation and expansion to the only beach bathhouse facility with ADA access and parking at Middleton Park.        
  • Varnamtown received $95,620 for acquisition of a .10 acre of land adjacent to existing public ramp.    

The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments in the 20 coastal counties. Governments that receive grants must match them by contributing at least 25 percent toward the project’s cost.

Funding for the grant program comes from the North Carolina General Assembly through the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Access projects may include walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas, piers and related projects. Funds also may be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization. Staff with the state Division of Coastal Management selected the recipients based on criteria set by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission.

The grant program has provided more than $47 million for nearly 451 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more information about the program, go to: https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/coastal-management/coastal-management-beach-waterfront-access-program/about-beach-access.

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