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Fund to help preserve working waterfronts

By Staff
State sets aside $20 million
By DAN PARSONS
Staff Writer
A new fund has been set up in the 2007-2008 state budget to stem the flow of public waterfront access into private hands.
The $20 million Waterfront Access and Marine Industry Fund will be used by grantees to acquire property and develop facilities that promote waterfront access for both public and commercial use. The fund will be administered by the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries.
State Senate leader Marc Basnight, who was responsible for the inclusion of the funds in the budget, said Thursday that he “felt the creation of the fund needed to occur.” Basnight said his staff drafted the legislation with the help of Daniel and that his “movement came at the end to get the money.”
Daniel said he is moving “cautiously and quickly” to put the funds to use along the coast, but that devising a strategic plan over the next few months for where to spend the money would get the “most bang for our buck.”
Mike Voiland, director of N.C. Sea Grant, chaired that committee. He said Thursday that he and other committee members were “very pleased” at the Legislature’s response to their recommendations.
Using those recommendations, Daniel said traditional fishing communities like Engelhard and Swan Quarter would be examples of places the funds could be spent.