ATLANTIC BEACH — With a grant from the N.C. Division of Coastal Management secured, town officials can prepare to take bids on improvements to a public beach access on the west end of town.
The town received word Jan. 23 that they’ve received a $47,852 grant to replace the existing public beach access boardwalk next to the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel on West Fort Macon Road. The grant is one of 12 awarded by the DCM though its Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program, for a total of $1.1 million given to improve public accesses to coastal beach and waters, according to a letter from Gov. Roy Cooper’s office Tuesday.
Atlantic Beach Director of Recreation and Special Events Morgan Kerns said Tuesday town officials applied for the grant in July.
“Applications were due by September 2018,” she said, “but we submitted ahead of schedule.”
The grant money will be used to make improvements to the public beach access boardwalk next to the hotel, and the improvements will bring the access into compliance with the American Disabilities Act.
“Bids for the labor will go out in February,” Ms. Kearns said, “with work beginning shortly after. We plan to have the access completed by Memorial Day weekend (Saturday-Sunday, May 25-26).”
According to Ms. Kearns, the access will not only be ADA compliant, but will be rebuilt with Trex Board, a composite building material with a longer lifespan than traditional wood, that’s less likely to splinter and will require less maintenance.
“The cost of the project is $95,704 in total,” Ms. Kearns said. “The town is partnering with the DoubleTree by Hilton to contribute $23,926 each, for a total of $47,852 in local contributions. The grant matches the local contribution and will cover the remaining $47,852 of project costs.”
The Atlantic Beach access isn’t the only one receiving a DCM grant. In Cape Carteret, town officials are receiving $114,750 for the purchase of a 1.47-acre property to provide access to Pettiford Creek.
As the News-Times reported in December, that grant will be used in conjunction with a second, $67,499 grant, also from the state, to purchase and develop the property into a kayak launch and wildlife viewing area for the public.
In his office’s letter, Gov. Cooper said the grants issued by the DCM are going to towns along the coast from Manteo to Holden Beach and many points in between.
“North Carolina’s coast is one of our greatest treasures and we want it to be accessible to all,” the governor 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 DCM is a part of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality. DEQ Secretary Michael Regan said the department “wants people to be able to enjoy North Carolina’s beautiful coast.
“These funds will help make our beaches and waterways more accessible for the benefit of every visitor, as well as the businesses who benefit from their visit,” Mr. Regan said.
The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program 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 N.C. General Assembly through the state Parks and Recreation Trust Fund. Access projects may include walkways, dune crossovers, restrooms, parking areas, piers and related projects.
The money may also be used for land acquisition or urban waterfront revitalization. The grant program has provided more than $45 million for more than 440 public waterfront access sites since 1981, according to the release.
Contact Mike Shutak at 252-726-7081 ext. 206, email email@example.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.