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

Published 10:45 am Monday, November 1, 2021

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management has awarded more than $1.1 million to nine local governments to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2021-22 fiscal year.

The division awarded grants to the following local governments in northeastern North Carolina:

– Elizabeth City received $92,180 to fund the George M. Wood Memorial Park Restoration Project, which will rehabilitate the existing boardwalk on the Pasquotank River and provide ADA parking space at the existing public access.

– Hyde County received $90,750 to renovate the Engelhard Far Creek Boardwalk.

– Town of Nags Head received $200,000 to remove the existing bathhouse and dune walkover and install a bathhouse and dune walkover with upgraded parking, site amenities and landscaping at existing oceanfront access. Improvements will increase ADA accessibility at the Epstein Street Public Beach Access.

– Tyrrell County received $25,650 for Phase III of the Scuppernong River Park Renovation to expand existing pier platform at the existing public access site.

The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, now in its 40th year, 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 $48 million for 461 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981.

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