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NHCo. Beach Towns Approve Renourishment Plan

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Wrightsville Beach, NC

New Hanover County’s beach towns have approved an inter-local agreement to pay for beach renourishment.

WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports that county commissioners must approve the agreement and a vote is expected before the end of the year.

New Hanover County Commissioner Rick Catlin says that federal funding for renourishment has dwindled, and since he doesn’t expect any federal dollars to trickle in for the next budget cycle, he decided to act.

“We’re entering a permitting contingency plan with the state of North Carolina to essentially duplicate the project that the Corps of Engineers has for our beach renourishment now. And the county would hold the permit so that, in the case there was no federal money, we could renourish our beaches on our own.”

The county would cover the federal government’s former share with savings from a portion of its room tax revenue. Right now, there’s $35 million in that pot.

Catlin says this type of agreement is unprecedented.

“We’ve all become more and more and more dependent on the federal government, and now, they’re not able to meet their obligations. It’s a big step for local communities to find a way to be self-sufficient. We’re breaking new ground here.”

As a precaution, the towns have agreed to cover North Carolina’s slice of the pie if that money is ever slashed from a future budget.

After growing up in Woodbridge, Virginia, Michelle attended Virginia Tech before moving to Wilmington to complete her Master in Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina in Wilmington. Her reporting and nonfiction writing have been featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, within the pages of Wrightsville Beach Magazine, and in literary journals like River Teeth and Ninth Letter. Before moving to Wilmington, Michelle served as the general manager for WUVT, a community radio station in Blacksburg, Virginia. She lives with her husband Scott and their pups, Katie, Cooper, and Mosey.