Congressman Mike McIntyre visited New Hanover County Friday talking about film incentives and farm services. But another focus for his trip was beach renourishment in Carolina Beach.
McIntyre has been a big supporter of beach renourishment and other coastal issues during his time in office, but he'll retire in January.
There are no guarantees his successor will have the same priorities, concerning local beach towns.
"Anybody that steps into that position, I think has a lot of work in front of them," Carolina Beach Mayor Dan Wilcox said. "We're going to be there to support them, but those are big shoes to fill with regard to the funding he's brought back to the beaches over the years."
The federal government has awarded Carolina Beach $2.7 million to renourish beaches, but once that money runs out, officials will need other options for funding.
"These beaches belong to the people," McIntyre said. "Regardless of any political philosophies, we want to make sure that this is indeed an environmental treasure that we have that we want to pass on for generations."
Leaders in Carolina Beach will go to the county council next week to figure out a long-term source for funding.
"Renourishment and the health of our beaches is the backbone of our tourism industry," Wilcox said. "It's not just about the beach town. It's not just about New Hanover County. These are state beaches, and it's a part of our economic engine. So it affects everyone on some level."
It's an issue being fought on the federal level as well.
"In Washington, we have to show that this is of regional and national significance," McIntyre said. "This is a national treasure what we have here.
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