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MOREHEAD CITY – The state Division of Coastal Management recently announced the availability of approximately $1 million in funding to help local governments in 20 coastal counties improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2020-21 fiscal year. The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments to construct low-cost public access facilities.

“This funding continues to allow the state to be a resource for successful rebuilding and restoring of our public spaces along the coast,” said Braxton Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management. “It is an important means to provide and maintain safe access for our residents and visitors.”

Local governments interested in applying for financial assistance must submit a pre-application to the Division of Coastal Management by 5 p.m. on April 17. Local governments will be notified by May 15 if their proposal is selected to submit a final application.

Final Applications are anticipated to be due in August 2020. All final applicants will be notified in September if their project has been selected for funding. For more information about the Public Access Grant application process, go to the DEQ website.

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 more than 459 public waterfront access sites since the program began in 1981. For more information about the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, go to the DEQ website.

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