State officials announce availability of fiscal year 2024 grants to improve public beach access – OBX Today

The N.C. Division of Coastal Management (DCM) is announcing the availability of approximately $3 million in funding to help local governments in 20 coastal counties improve public access to coastal beaches and waters for the 2024-25 fiscal year. The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments to construct low-cost public access facilities.

“Expanding and improving public access to coastal shorelines continues to be a priority for our program and communities across the coast, so we’re excited to be able to support additional proposals this year,” said Braxton Davis, director of the N.C. Division of Coastal Management.

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 15 and will be notified by May 10, if their proposal is selected, to submit a final application.

Final Applications are anticipated to be due in July 2024. All final applicants will be notified in fall 2024 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 select recipients based on criteria set by the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission.

The grant program has awarded 497 grants for more than $53.8 million since the program began in 1981. For more information about the Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, go to the DEQ website.