Washington, Hyde County among grant recipients

Published 6:26 pm Friday, October 15, 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.

“For 40 years, the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access Program has helped fund key projects that enhance access and improve experiences for residents and visitors enjoying the natural beauty of our coastal waterways,” said Elizabeth S. Biser, Secretary of the Department of Environmental Quality. “DEQ is honored to offer this support for our local partners and the coastal economy.”

The division awarded grants to the following local governments:

·      Atlantic Beach received $73,288 to construct a 290 ft. handicap-accessible dune crossover at the DoubleTree East Public Beach Access.

·      Town of Cedar Point received $60,000 to construct an ADA accessible kayak launch with shaded wheelchair parking at the Boathouse Creek Walking Trails Park, the project includes both an ADA accessible parking area and walkway to the kayak launch.

·      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.

·      Holden Beach received $180,460 for the acquisition of oceanfront property.

·      Hyde County received $90,750 to renovate the Englehard 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.

·      City of New Bern received $110,809 to extend the existing marshwalk and add a fishing platform at Lawson Creek Park.

·      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.

·      City of Washington received $350,000 for Phase II of the Wetlands Boardwalk Reconstruction to renovate 1,024 ft. of the pedestrian boardwalk.

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. For more information about the program, go to the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access website.