Bertie project receives $500,000

Published 5:11 pm Friday, March 17, 2023

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RALEIGH – The Parks and Recreation Authority has awarded $9.6 million in park accessibility grants for 21 projects across the state, Governor Roy Cooper announced last week.

This newest round of funding includes $500,000 for Bertie County’s “Tall Glass of Water” project. That money will be used for the next phase of the project, which consists of an outdoor education and event space. Accessible components include an ADA-accessible ramp, beach mats for improved navigation onto the beach and an accessible walkway from the parking area to the beach.

Several years ago, Bertie County officials invested in 147 acres along the Chowan River Estuary and the Albemarle Sound and transformed it into a public access beach. The site’s most stunning feature is its 2,200 linear feet of sand beach and shallow calm waters.

As early as 2013, Bertie Commissioners identified four strategic business clusters: Agribusiness, Biomass and Energy, Adventure Tourism, and Waterfront Expansion as areas of focus for the county’s economic development efforts.

On the south of that property is another 1,300 acres now owned by the state for a park called the Salmon Creek Natural Area

The 2021 state budget included $10 million for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund to provide matching grants to local governments for parks facilities for children and veterans living with disabilities. The awards were granted during a March 3 meeting of the authority.

The reach of the funded parks and recreation projects reflect Governor Cooper’s ongoing efforts to strengthen communities.

“These projects touch communities from Watauga to Wake to Pamlico with lasting, accessible infrastructure for recreation that will bring improved health and quality of life for North Carolina families,” Cooper said. “The focus of accessibility reflects our need for—and commitment to—investing in projects that reflect the needs and abilities of all of our residents and visitors.”

Department of Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary D. Reid Wilson expressed the department’s commitment to providing recreation amenities for people of all abilities.

“Because the Governor and General Assembly included historic funding levels in the budget for the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, we are able to provide these grants to every corner of our state to improve accessibility in community recreation,” Wilson said. “These grants will produce significant progress toward providing recreation that meets each North Carolinian where they are.”

The Parks and Recreation Trust Fund is administered through the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation, which is part of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The program schedule was announced in March 2022, and completed applications were due to the division by Nov. 1. Local governments, including some public authorities, were eligible to apply for the matching grants.