State officials announce availability of fiscal year 2023 grants to improve public beach access

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 2023-24 fiscal year. The Public Beach and Coastal Waterfront Access program provides matching funds to local governments to construct low-cost public access facilities.

“These funds allow the division to continue supporting coastal communities in their efforts to provide public access to the state beaches and waterfronts.” 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 28 and will be notified by May 14 if their proposal is selected to submit a final application.

Final Applications are anticipated to be due in August 2023. All final applicants will be notified in fall 2023 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 provided more than $51 million for more than 481 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.