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State officials award more than $1.7 million to improve public beach and coastal waterfront access

Morehead City, NC

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Coastal Management has awarded more than $1.7 million to nine local governments to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2022-23 fiscal year.

“Providing safe access to our coasts helps North Carolina residents and visitors enjoy our natural resources,” said Elizabeth S. Biser, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. “This funding supports local governments, communities and our coastal economy.”

Grants were awarded to the following local governments:

  • Atlantic Beach received $300,000 for Circle Boardwalk Acquisition Phase I, acquisition of an oceanfront parcel.
  • Beaufort County received $405,000 for development of the first county-owned park on Wrights Creek. Improvements include a portion of a walking trail, large picnic shelter with tables and grills, a boardwalk with a gazebo and a living shoreline demonstration site.
  • Town of Calabash received $250,000 for Calabash Waterfront Park improvement to provide a canoe/kayak access, pier/dock area with shade and seating for fishing, nature viewing and a boardwalk and picnic pavilion and restrooms.
  • Town of Carolina Beach received $131,250 for Starfish Lane installation of a new gazebo, walkway and canoe/kayak launch.
  • Town of Caswell Beach received $84,620 to rebuild an ADA beach access way at the Regional Access site.
  • Town of Holden Beach received $50,239 for construction of an ADA compliant wooden walkover for pedestrian access to the beach at Holden Beach Pier area Beach Access.
  • City of Southport received $141,000 for construction of an ADA canoe/kayak launch at the old wastewater treatment plant.
  • Town of Sunset Beach received $250,000 for acquisition of the Majestic Oak property/subdivision. Future use would be to add fishing pier, canoe/kayak launch and other park amenities.
  • City of Wilmington received $51,875 to install a non-motorized boat launch and pedestrian picnic area on Bradley Creek adjacent to the Oleander Drive bridge.

The grant program has provided more than $51 million for 481 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more information about the program, go to the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access website.

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.

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