Coastal communities win $1.1 million to improve public beach and coastal waterfront access

A total of 12 coastal communities will get more than $1.1 million in grants to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters. The grants go to towns along the coast from Manteo to Holden Beach and many points in between.

“North Carolina’s coast is one of our greatest treasures and we want it to be accessible to all,” Gov. Roy Cooper said in making the announcement Jan. 29. “These grants will help coastal communities welcome more people to enjoy our spectacular beaches and waterways, increasing investment in our state’s economy.”

The grants come from the state Division of Coastal Management in the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Awards go to the following communities:

  • Atlantic Beach received $47,852 to replace an existing beach access boardwalk with one compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Bald Head Island received $19,160 to create an ADA-compatible access site for South Beach.
  • Cape Carteret received $114,750 for the purchase of a 1.47-acre property to provide access to Pettiford Creek.
  • Edenton received $110,000 to replace a bulkhead at Queen Anne Park.
  • Elizabeth City received $138,000 for a floating dock, kayak launch, fishing pier, additional parking and amenities at Coast Guard Park along the Pasquotank River.
  • Gatesville received $36,800 for renovations of Bennett’s Creek Park that include a pavilion, boardwalk, and kayak launch along Bennett’s Creek.
  • Holden Beach received $16,335 for the construction of a dune crossover at Ocean Boulevard West.
  • Manteo received $95,376 to renovate the downtown boardwalk along Shallowbag Bay.
  • Nags Head received $122,226 to construct an ADA-accessible dune crossover, parking and other amenities at the Jacob’s Street ocean access.
  • New Bern received $97,500 to construct a kayak launch with an ADA-compatible floating dock, parking area and restroom at Martin Marietta Park on the Neuse River.
  • Pasquotank County received $84,000 for renovations to the Pasquotank River Boardwalk.
  • Plymouth received $107,500 for renovations to Waterfront Park, including handicap parking improvements.
  • Wrightsville Beach received $187,500 for the construction of the East Salisbury Street Oceanfront Park with restrooms and shower facilities.

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 $45 million for over 440 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more information about the program, go to deq.nc.gov.

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