2013-12-05 / Letters to the Editor

It’s a mistake to build Hull Cove boardwalk

As someone who grew up on the island, I disagree with the proposal to build an elevated boardwalk to access Hull Cove. This makes no sense, either economically or environmentally.

It seems that $80,000 is a lot of money to build a walkway. What are the yearly maintenance costs of the boardwalk and surrounding foliage? What is the town’s liability if someone falls off? How much of the area will be cut and altered?

What sort of impact study has been done for the increased traffic to such a small area? Will there be trash removal? How much will that cost? Will the town have to hire a lifeguard?

Conservation Chairwoman Maureen Coleman said the restoration will be handicap accessible and is preferable to the current situation – “having the residents truck through the mud.”

Anyone who really wants to enjoy the splendor of Hull Cove will risk getting their feet wet. Part of the reward is that you have to walk through the muddy trail to get there.

I have not seen any type of renderings of the proposal, but I do not believe the handicap accessibility can be figured into the cost of the boardwalk. A standard handicap spot is 8 feet with an access aisle up to 5-feet wide. If it is a van accessible spot, it’s 16-feet wide. The parking lot will have to be paved, and the spot properly marked out according to state laws.

I also think the handicap-accessible boardwalk itself would be at least 6-feet wide. Would it just end? Or would a ramp lead onto the shells and sand? To make Hull Cove truly handicap accessible, the town would need to continue the boardwalk the whole length of the beach.

If the cost runs over the grant, who pays for that? A project over wetlands has the ability to quickly go over budget due to problems that arise in waste containment. For example, the sawdust generated from cutting pressure-treated lumber needs to be completely contained, removed and disposed of. Alternatives are to build walk- ways offsite then truck and assemble them on site, again increasing costs.

The Town Council needs to put together a committee of professionals who can conduct a full impact and cost analysis of the project. The council will also have to weigh the input from residents.

I do not reside on the island anymore, but my mother does and I visit quite a bit. I love Hull Cove. In the summer I walk down the muddy path with my wife and son and trek across the stinky seaweed and the deep, soft sand and climb over the rocks, finding the nice big flat one to set the towels on and enjoy the day, swimming, surfing and relaxing.

I’m one of many whom would rather not see this project started.

Scott Davis
Oak Street
Middletown

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