By Kate Anslinger
Residents came out to voice their opinions on the state of Winthrop Beachâ€™s re-nourishment and restoration project. The $25 million project that was launched to
provide storm protection and recreation for the shoreline, has resulted in an unappealing rocky beach.
Recently, the DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation) has hired Tetra Tech Inc., an engineering consultant firm, to review past studies, reports and permitting to assist in the design of the project. The firm is currently working on findings that they will present at the May 31st meeting.
The majority of residents arenâ€™t happy about the state of the beach and demanded an answer for the lack of movement on the project.
â€œWe live on the beach and we should have the right to use it,â€ said resident MaryAlice Sharkey, in response to the cobbles that still cover the sand. â€œWe have as much rights as Revere, the Cape, and Gloucester and Winthrop should be serviceable to our children. We are hearing more about construction and we need to hear about the recreation as part of the plan.â€
The area designated for the Piping Plovers was also a hot topic, as residents were concerned with the fact that one-third of the beach is cordoned off for the seasonal nesting of the birds. â€œWe will have a biologist at the next meeting to provide a reason for this,â€ said DCR Commissioner, Leo Roy.
Repairs to the sea wall stairs that approach the Highlands are next on the list of the agenda items. The DCR confirmed that they will be demolishing the stairs and rebuilding them in June. Several residents complained about the walkway along the shoreline behind the staircase and the need to redo it for safety and esthetic reasons.
â€œWe will take this into consideration,â€ said Roy, who also promised to address the need for an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant ramp in that area.
The DCR confirmed that there will be a seasonal staff starting in June, dedicated to the maintenance and cleanliness of Winthrop Beach.
â€œOur goal for the project consists of a three-part plan,â€ said Roy. â€œImprove the beach for the summer months, conduct a peer review with Tetra Tech and continue an ongoing dialogue with the community.â€
Tetra Tech will be at the May 31st meeting to answer questions regarding the future of the project. The meeting will be held at the Robert A. DeLeo Winthrop Senior Center, 6:30pm-8 pm.