RALEIGH — Governor Roy Cooper announced Tuesday that 12 coastal communities — including Wrightsville Beach, Bald Head Island, and Holden Beach — will state receive grants to improve public access to coastal beaches and waters.
“North Carolina’s coast is one of our greatest treasures and we want it to be accessible to all,” Governor Cooper said. “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 will come from the Division of Coastal Management, part of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, according to a release from the governor’s office.
Among the dozen communities picked to receive a portion of the total $1.1 million in grant funds, Wrightsville Beach will receive the highest amount, at $187,500 (nearly $50,000 above the amount earmarked for Elizabeth City, the second-highest recipient). These funds will be used for the construction of the East Salisbury Street Oceanfront Park, which will house restrooms and showers.
Meanwhile Bald Head Island will receive $19,160 for the creation of an access site at South Beach compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Roughly 14 miles to the east, Holden Beach will receive $16,335 for the construction of a dune crossover at Ocean Boulevard West.
The funding program, called Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access, allows local governments in the state’s 20 coastal counties to match state funds with a contribution of 25 percent toward the project’s total cost.
According to governor’s press secretary, Ford Porter, Division of Coastal Management staff chose the 12 recipients based on criteria set by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission. Funding for the program comes from the North Carolina General Assembly through the state’s Parks and Recreation Trust Fund.
Since the grant program’s inception in 1981 it has funded more than 440 public waterfront access points through $45 million in funding, according to Porter.