Friday, April 1, 2011

Old Harbor Walk makes sense

Guest article by Kate Bavelock, Executive Director
Sandwich Chamber of Commerce

The Sandwich Chamber endorsed the concept plan for this boardwalk put forward by a volunteer who was also on the town’s Economic Development Committee and Visitors Services Board. We came up with the name Old Harbor Walk to avoid any confusion with the existing Sandwich Boardwalk.

The Old Harbor Walk is a walkway that would connect three economic centers between the Village and Marina District by way of Brady’s Island and an underperforming district along Route 6A from Jarves to Tupper.

The Old Harbor Walk hopes to incorporate scenic viewing spots, a restoration of Brady’s Island as a park/arboretum, educational markers on the coastal marsh eco-system, and a boardwalk leading across the marsh areas connecting Sandwich Village to other pathways to the Marina/Canal Bicycle Path and Merchants Square. The project is intended to increase visitors, to better accommodate visitors arriving by bike or public transportation and to enhance resident’s pedestrian and bicycle transportation options to move around town.

The concept plan was designed to bring more visitors’ revenue, leverage available federal and clean air act grants designed to get people out of automobiles and moving around on foot and by bike, and to enhance property values and give a boost to our business districts in those areas. Helping small-scale businesses thrive in Sandwich was not meant to give any one person revenue, but rather meant to help the whole community by building a healthy local economy with jobs, money circulating in the economy (our local business owners donate so much to the school programs, sports programs, food pantry, etc), and to avoid closed and empty storefronts in a historic Village. Some of the models we looked at in Florida and the Carolinas showed an average of $1.5 million economic benefit to the surrounding communities, according to National Park Service statistics.

The Sandwich Chamber felt there was a strong enough argument there to explore the concept further. An economic development plan which has a nice grant funding niche that would bring much needed revenue AND which would enhance residents pedestrian access to and among important areas of town and enhance quality of life for all certainly merited further study. This seems to be economic development nicely suited to the Sandwich community which values recreation, enjoying our wonderful outdoor spaces and scenic vistas and makes new opportunities for all to enjoy our great coastal marsh system - from school children on an educational field trip along the walkway, to seniors having a safe place to walk, to being fully handicapped accessible for wheelchairs, strollers and youngsters on bikes.

The planning also focuses on protecting our coastal marsh system and enhancing its ecological health. Much research on phragmites abatement and expanding the existing culverts to improve saltwater flushing was going on as part of the overall design of the walkway. The project planners were aware of the time and costs to permitting in ecologically sensitive areas and were willing to do the hard work necessary. Again, projects in other communities including a current one at Hingham’s Worlds End Park, show that it can be done within the framework of resource protection and environmental enhancements.

With an understanding of the stretched town staff and decreasing town resources, the plan sought to include realistic sources of income for future maintenance. This included plank inscription fundraising, corporate sponsorship opportunities, temporary art booths similar to Hyannis Harbor and possibly event permits for outdoor concerts, small weddings, etc.

Having stated our support of the project, we have asked at this time for the CPC grant article on the Town Meeting warrant to be postponed. There are issues that we feel we need more time to work on including technical questions on railroad crossings, more specific understanding of the before-mentioned grants, more thought on scale and phases of the design, opportunity for the County’s bike planning to be further along to work together, and most importantly more communication with both residents and town leadership so we have the best possible plan.

Thanks to all who support this wonderful project – I look forward to continuing to work through important issues with many community members.


  1. Carl Johansen would state,

    Ms.Bavelock when one speaks of a boardwalk that comploments both walking and the riding of bikes , you are speaking about a very wide construction footprint in the marsh.

    When one speaks about attempting to to increase the water flow inside the fragile marsh area for any reason , you will be effecting the overall height of the water in the back yards of every building that is presently surrounding this marsh area. Given the facts that this projects carries with it a very difficult burdan to overcome from just the permiting process, let alone overcomming the protection granted under MGL 184 to Brady'Island and Conservation Area.
    The mere footprint and height of the board walk in such a fragile environmental would be like waiting for a hurricane to break through the barrier beach and washing it all out into Cape Cod Bay.

    Perhaps you do not realize that this upland Island was more then 15 acres in size and is now just a mere 2.1 acreas "give or take"
    This shows that the land mass is slowly sinking in the marsh along with many of the other surrounding structurs located in and near this environmental impact area.
    Playing with Mother Nature is a very dangerous task to overcome and that is what you have outlined above with your boardwalk project in my opinion.

    It would seem to me that finding the capitol seed money to protect and restore the barrier beach would be a much better use of CPA grant money.

    What good does it do to make changes to an inside fragile marsh that does not afford the protection of the barrier beach, that when it fails will take away every thing, you propose to do inside?

    You have the same elements of the historical, recreational and environment that can be used to put before the CPC that your application called for. Before we speak to bringing paying customers to the down town areas, why do we not afford the same degree of concerns to the restoration of this barrier beach?

    Common sense dictates, history has shown us, that spending money that cannot stand the battles of Mother Nature are a folly and unwise to contemplate.

    If this bridge to nowhere, is build upon this fragile impacted flood stage water way, one can only imagine the unnessary destruction and havoc it would create to the very business and historical buildings you profess to want to help.

    The first full moon tide that breaks through the barrier beach, would assure that your project has the potentional to further impact the destruction of valualable historical locations, that is one reason it is protected by the Massachusets Historical Society, to remain in perperturty in its natural state.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  2. Carl Johansen would state,

    Good morning MS. Bavelock, Reasonable people, seek reasonable solutions. The proposals by others in the community to move bike and foot traffic to the many busines centers about our town have made inroads to getting grant money, perhaps you may know about it? The very purpose you have stated above is to increase the awareness of our town from an economic veiw point. That is why others have been planning a more broad base approach to improve every busines in our town rather then a small segiment , such as you have proposed. There plan does not call for the destruction of any Natural Resources and that is how it should be.

    The use of vacation trolleys, with planned stops along a route of travel is a much better way to move people around our town.
    You may not agree, as I do not agree with the approach you have underlined in your proposal to upset a fragile eco system around Brady's Island.

    To compare the Worlds End project to the one you have proposed is like comparing apples to grapfruit as the water dynamics in and around both are very different in nature.

    Given that at any physical change you may propose to do on Brady's Island, like removal of any root bearing structures will only increase the run off and limit the Islands ability to sustain itself during any high water surges from outside forces.

    One needs to look at Brady's Island as the saving grace to prevent these surges from further effecting the present shore line into the future, as it slowly sinks into the marsh.

    Once you destroy this Natural Resource, you will lose the battle with nature to save the very buildings you profess you want to help, with economic assistance.

    Once again, common sense must prevale in any project we propose to increase the bottom line of those who come to our town to eat, purchase goods and rest.

    There is another way to provide this economic tool and it should be imbraced for the quality of life we all expect here in Sandwich.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  3. Crucial risk factors must be weighed for the Harborwalk Project, obviously. As an environmental planner, working with wetland remediation plans for several years, I will tell you that affecting natural ecosystems, especially wetlands, always carries a percentage of risk. Wetland systems are unique from one another enough to keep the modern scientific community challenged to find remediation techniques that will provide a guaranteed intended result. Unless absolutely necessary, wetland systems are best left to function as they are.

    Though I like the idea of bringing tourists around, how much should we be risking with the proposed Old Harbor Walk area? There is a, more than significant, risk factor that involves achieving the exact opposite of goals initially set out. Then we are stuck with the costs of attempting to repair the system should it exhibit unplanned negative impacts.

    The idea of rescuing the marsh from phragmites is a becoming idea, however, one must admit! Phragmites is known, in part, to be the result of altered and weakened soil nutrients. Road salt washoff can be a contributer to the production of phragmites. There is a great deal of research available to address potentially effective biocontrol measures to work on the invasive species issue, particularly phragmites and purple loosestrife. I have some experience in this area and would be pleased to offer volunteer services to the Chamber of Commerce to research and present affordable biocontrol options for the marsh area. I even have one idea in mind for a grant to achieve a first round experiment! We could produce a positive campaign surrounding the experiment and produce some good vibes for tourists, as they will be pleased to know that our Town is pro-active in pursuing resource protection and will be a place they can continue to enjoy visiting for years to come. Meanwhile, options exist to route tourists around it seems. The dialogue is up and going for it, thanks to the Chamber bravely introducing an idea. Let's keep it going!

  4. William F. BuckleyApril 7, 2011 at 3:37 PM

    It would be nice to see the Chamber underwrite all costs associated with this study instead of asking taxpayers to foot the bill.
    Its quite clear to me that any so-called economic benefit flowing from this project would accrue to local merchants in the form of increased revenues and not to the Town.
    A boardwalk will not increase local tax collections at all.
    Why the Chamber wants us taxpayers to pay for something that may or may not help their businesses is clear, but why taxpayers and local leaders might support the notion is lost on me.
    There is not a single local business that could or would attempt to justify using their own business capital to finance this project.
    No bank or lender would ever underwrite such nonsense either. Quite simply, there is no way to justify this project as an investment as the term “investment” is customarily used and understood.
    There would be a greater, more immediate and perhaps longer-lasting local benefit from the Town simply giving each Chamber member a piece of the $7 million construction costs as a gift than from building this bridge.
    Anyone who uses economics to justify this project is either a fool or a liar.

  5. Carl Johansen stated,

    Mr. Buckley the points you have made are a true evaluation of the project proposed by MS. Bavelock. This project was only to increase the bottom line for the business along a very narrow part of our town.

    You will notice that this young lady has not reponded to any dialog in regards to her commonts above. This for me, speaks volunms to her intentions to present this project under the guise of enviornmental issues into economic development.
    It is also noted that, given the present information that this project is dead in the very water's being stirred up, spouting moving people around the village can only be done with a bridge to nowhere. Those of us that would have had to pay the bills would be given a nice thank you, while others would be increasing there bottom line and smiling all the way to the bank.

    Then when the secondary problems from this project became a night mare we all would get to pay another bill to correct it.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  6. @Carl: The "young lady" might also be a very busy young lady. Responding to comments on this blog perhaps is not her highest priority, so thinking that her non-response "speaks volumes" is more a comment about the self-importance of the posters here than a shot at the young lady.

  7. Mr. Johansen--that you would call a professional person like Kate Bavelock a "young lady" speaks volumes. Perhaps if you stuck to the facts and data and avoided nonsensical phrases like "bridge to nowhere", serious people would respond to you. At some point this town might decide it can't move forward if it continues to listen to citizens who claim to be concerned but seem to have very little to add to forward looking conversations. Or the innovative and entrepreneurial will continue to leave and you can literally talk to yourself.

  8. Carl Johansen would state,

    Good morning Mr. Hunt. This may be one time we disagree on the subject matter being discussed.

    Being of the mind set that someone would make a point for discussion and not respond to any dialog in over a week leaves me wondering if they really believe what they posted.

    As you know I normally will not respond to those that wish to remain unknown.

    The questions in the dialog speak for themselves. If you took the time to place an article of interest before the towns people, then why not take the same time to respond.?

    I believe that sufficient time had elapsed before I asked for a response.

    When we engage with a process, that is just one sided, we lose the value of open discussion and debate. Debating the value of the topic being discussed cannot be a one sided event. I have my opinions and apparently the young lady has another. I feel as part of the debate process, one who make comments needs to justify the answers, by asking questions that bring out every one to look at the value of the discussion at hand.

    Since this is your blog, I will give you that perhaps it may not be on Kates top list of priorities, but why generate a topic for debate and then not respond would perhaps be another way to look at it? If the topic was important enough to be posted, then it should also be important enough to debate, as long as you know who you are debating.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  9. @Carl: I asked Kate to write the piece; not the other way around. I didn't tell her to return to my blog to join the debate. I don't know if she has ever visited my blog.


  10. William F. BuckleyApril 8, 2011 at 6:08 PM

    An old but useful trick many employ when debating, particularly those unable to muster a logical defense to their positions, is to skip over the salient facts at issue and instead redirect the debate to focus on non substantive issues like the use of the phrase young lady and other matters like sexism, ageism, etc.

    The proposed boardwalk is virtually indefensible as (1) an investment, (2) an environmental positive, or (3) a top priority and best use of limited town capital resources. So, rather than try to debate or rebut these facts certain bloggers chose instead to quibble with Mr. Johansen’s word choices and phraseology.

    Mr. Johansen: You need not add a single post here sir; you’ve prevailed on the merits. Consider this argument won and your debating point(s) made and scored. The other side has conceded and chooses instead to distract and obfuscate.

  11. WFB--of course, word choices have implications. For instance, they help establish whether a person is interested in conversation, a real debate on merits, and a give and take between neighbors who care about their town. Catchy but hollow phrases like "bridge to nowhere" or diminishing an accomplished person by denigrating her as a young lady, demonstrate that Mr. Johanson is not interested in conversation. You, for example, begin by saying that the bridge is "indefensible." You use words like "nonsense". Your choice and your prerogative. But when you start with a conclusion from which you are not going to be moved, why would anyone want to engage you in a debate on merits or a sustained conversation about the project?

  12. Carl Johansen stated,

    Good Afternoon MR. Buckley, It is unfortuned that some do not understand my meaning of[ YOUNG LADY} . I call many younger women, young lady and that is not out of disrespect. Being closer to 80 any one younger would follow into that wording[Included my wife of some 50 plus years.

    My wife is also a professional person with some degree of importance.

    Many women have played an important part in my life , my Mother especially. I actually am the direct opposite to what the shadow poster posted. One thing you can never say about me is that I do not support womens rights, because my background will not allow me to not support the rights of women.

    Mr. Hunt is a young man by my standards, but does that mean I do not respect Him, when I may call him a young man?

    As far as the lack of reponce goes from Kate and my comments, it would have been approached from a different veiw point had all of the information been made available upfront.

    Since I was not aware that the "Young Lady" had
    not actually posted it here like others have over time, Now do not take this to mean it is about the poster. It is about a level playing field. It is assumed that any article posted is open for some debate and responce, perhaps that is not the case?

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  13. Pie R Squared (Pi)April 10, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Buckley, you continually step in to defend Mr. J. Frankly, you are all wet about issues that can not be defended. You, like Mr. J think that you have the moral high ground, when in fact, you have the moral low ground in my opinion. You are of the same idea that only "true Americans" vote correctly or give a crap about free speach. You are of the same persuasion of someone who threatens the school committee with a suit..err....I forgot "suite". Just stir it up. Why did that genleman have to "promise" as suit in front of different boards? Could he have not just told those four good people who stepped up to the least they did that, rather than just sit by and let others rule they way the four could not accept, they ran for office and won--holy salt marsh!

    Now to the boardwalk. Ms. Bavelock is an accomplished individual of substantial character and professionalism. Rather than attack her in this column, perhaps Mr. J could have picked up the phone and talk to her. Maybe she could convince him that building a boardwalk would have significant value to the businesses...the businesses that are the lifeblood of the downtown area. Maybe, just maybe we could be something like Rockport, where people go to shop in a beautiful little village. Maybe, as Mr. J suggests when he says reasonable people can come up wit solutions, he could talk to her, listen to her, and although I disagree, suggest a scale back that might be acceptable. There is a boardwalk over a marsh already, is there any reason why we could not enlarge it and make the downtown more acceptable to visitors.

    As for his suggestion that only the business people would benefit, how wrong he is. The would benefit, but so would not the rest of the town loaded with museums and old homesteads. Students, retired people and others might be able to get jobs. Bavelock is a woman that will know how to get the job done. More power to her.

    And finally, again I would urge Mr. J to run for office. It might show him how difficult it is to run this town.

  14. Carl Johansen would state, to Mr. Buckley.

    The above poster has failed to not even bother to read any of the comments we have made and that is to bad. The issues at hand need to be looked at from a more logical point of veiw , rather then through the eyes of one who is blinded by only looking out for a small segiment of our town.
    It is also to bad that perhaps they also did not bother to read the proposal that was submitted by Kate, then I think one might have a different opinion, as to what this boardwalk would do to the down town area in regards to economic development.

    It can be stated as fact, that should this proposal, been given the go ahead at any time that affected the inside marsh area, The homes along the inside edges and associated historical buildings would see an rise in the ground water beneath there foundations, that are allready threating to be flooded out without any changes to the present marsh.
    That is a basic principal of physics, that I learned at a very early age, when ever you place a solid object in water it will get diplaced by an equal volume of water. The placing of pilings would automatically raise the water level higher then now is the case and where do you think that displacement will go? Into and onto the back yards of every home that borders this marsh. Including the very business this proposal seeks to benifit????

    From what I have been told many along this border were never even informed of the potentional castrophy, this proposal would have caused to our more vunarable historical property.

    Not with standing the Natural resource that presently has an active herring run and wildlife sanctuary that would be forever altered.

    The beauty of the visual affect of the marsh would also be affected by an out of place wood structure that would need to be higher then the marsh grass to be able to contend with the hurricane flood tides that would dislodge any strutures placed onto Brady"s Island.

    That is why under MGL 184 sec 32 and 33 [check section numbers?] it is stated that no structure can be built over it or on it, in perpertutity.

    Mr. Buckley sorry for the rant, but it is obvious when folks find they are incorrect and cannot debate the facts they attempt to take it to another place that shows they need to do a little more research, about the motivation they preceive.

    It is also noted that some feel that those of us that vote have some power and I guess they would be correct, but they also have the same power if they so choose to exercise it.

    We also have the same voice as well, some use it to make others aware that not every thing is well here in Sandwich and with time more effective desicions will be forthcomming and other choose to discredit the messenger.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich

  15. Maybe we should put 100 wind turbines there in the marsh (found money!), float some rubber duckies around it (wildlife!), line the edges with vinylized turf grass (preserved vegetation!) and open an eco-tourism attraction run by the good ol' Town of Sandwich DNR!

    Chambers ideas are healthy...sadly, the Town cannot take further impact of resources. We have, in my humble opinion, no qualified individuals to protect what we have and not enough money to effectively research averting potential disaster when disturbing this marsh system.

    Ms. Bavelock, no doubt is qualified. Her explorations are just that for now. There are some missing components to what has been presented. She did recognize that. It is likely that through her next stage of discovery, the reality of environmental and financial risks will come out for a project such as that proposed.

  16. Pie R Squared (pi)April 11, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    I am little educated and had been afraid to post until recently. I find your first comment on the post of Apri 10 at 11:08 to be right on the money. It is me you are writing about, and, see I do agree that "I FAILED not even to bother to read". I DID bother to read. Your double negative is there only to confuse the statement.

    I without doubt am sure that you meant "failed to bother to read" in your condescending inarticulate attempt at flowery writing.

    You, Mr. J., DID not understand what I wrote. You reponded, as you seem to do a lot with your position on the subject and do not address anything that anyone would write.

    Here is what you FAILED to respond to concerning that post.

    1) that you have think you have the moral high ground when you have the moral low ground.

    2) what I said about "true Americans" voting correctly and giving a crap about free speech.

    3) to answer my statment about threatening, oh I mean promising a "suite".

    4) going before different boards with the threat rather than speak alone face to face with the person to whom you disagree and then just leave it at that.

    5) my comment about stirring it up

    6) my comment on the four that stepped up to the plate. At least they did. They felt strongly and took action, and, because of that action, got something done. Some people go before boards and complain, but do not take action.

    7) about my comment on Bavelock being accomplished and professional.

    8) about calling her instead of calling her "young lady" and writing all you did.

    9) about Sandwich being something like Rockport.

    10) What I said about reasonable people and reasonalbe solutions. You talked about reasonble peoople and solutions, but you did not even consider a middle ground, if it is possible, with the Chamber.

    11) my comment about that it would not only be "business people" who would benefit.

    12) and finally, but most importantly, why those who speak out so much fail to run for office.

    Nowhere did I suggest what you responded to was wrong. I would venture to say that perhaps when you read my post, you just did not care to understand it, but rather just looked at me as being critical of you. I actually like you Carl.

  17. Carl Johansen stated, Good afternoon Pie R Squared. First off the above subject matter has been around the board walk, not other conflictions like the school or other matters related to it. In keeping with a long time practice mixing severel issues with a topic unrelated, normally would be addressed under the appropriate subject matter. To do otherwise confuses the subject matter and takes things out of context. So those issues, I will not address here, as this is only related to the board walk at this time.

    Each of us have a civic responsiabilty to speak up on any subject matter within our community, especially when injustice and desicions being made, affect us.. Some take the responsiabitly more then others and some just decide to look the other way.

    As a friend of mine would state, I help to defend womenhood and promote man hood. In some cases this may get folks upset and throw out the term ,why do you not run for an office? This is just a rational opinion of the comments and I could be incorrect.

    I have put my name on the line ever since I was young enough to understand the Pledge we all make to our country and flag. Those words I take very seriously and when ever I observe injustice, no matter what or with who, I go into defence mode. Justice for all, is just that . Not just for you or me, but for every one and thing.

    This proposal for this board walk was in my opinion an injustice to our natural resources, you may not agree, that is your choice.

    I will tell you that on one occassion I did have an opportunty to speak with Kate, some time ago, before this board walk that was put together by another person was brought before the CPC for approval. It was on another subject matter, during a selectman meeting. I and others were not happy with the way the topic was being discussed, as she was not receptive to an opposite veiw.
    I am allways open to discuss any subject matter over a cup of coffee, no matter who that may be. Many of these discussions have saved our town severel million dollars over the years, something you most likely do not know.

    One does not need to run for any office to be a productive civic minded citizen in our community.

    Now remember to smile and should you decide to sit down ,give a shout. I normally do my coffee at the 6A DD, each morning. Dutch treat only.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citzen of Sandwich

  18. Pie R Squared (pi) now E=tm2April 11, 2011 at 3:25 PM

    Mr. J, The point of my post was that you said I did not read what was being written on this blog. You were so wrong, it is you who either reads and changes the subject, but only after making a dumb statement like saying that someone does not read or understand etc.

    You never answer any questions posed to you. I did not expect that you would and I was correct. I would never be at Rte 6A DD, whatever that place is, and, I do not want to speak with you. You could say that I did not read, sort of put me down, but when you do talk, you want to do it where you can not be seen and I can not be heard.

    You ask people to step up to the plate, but you never do except to moan. I have a record much as you, but I don't have to tell anyone. Please just think before you write. I find you are bright and well versed, but unfortunately, I feel you make comments unrelated to the subject much as I do. You never seem to answer questions posed on this blog. I will not answer on this blog because it is for the Selectmen, but rest assured, I will write down every note on your TV speeches and keep all your writings. Quite often they are contrary and I will then mail them to town hall to be forwarded to you.

    Just to let you know, I agree with your stance on Brady's Island. I just don't think there is any room for compromise with you.

    PS: You invite me for coffee, then won't spend $1 to buy one for me. No wonder your against spending anything.

    I am chuckling right now.

  19. Carl Johansen stated

    Good evening Mr. Hunt, as you may not know I serve as a moderator[forum leader] on a well known fishing site, We have over 40,000 registered users. I get to deal with folks from all over the world, with many attitudes and abilities. We all have our own handles, but we all know each other.

    The first rule of moderating any one, is to keep the conversation around the topic at hand [when ever possible] We encourge every one to stay on course and not attempt to ask questions that in many cases take away from the topic being discussed. There are many reasons for this rule.

    When folks do not read the posted topic and they ask questions that are unrelated to the
    topic being discussed, it can only lead to further discourse and uncalled postings that take away from the subject matter.

    In referancing the above severel posts by Pie R Squared, where question were asked that were completly unrelated to any thing that was being discuused. Like,school committee problems, suites, board of selectman referances, I chose to answer some to see if the rational of discussion was open, but I chose to not answer the questions that obvisouly were designed to cause some discourse and take away from the ongoing topic of discussion. This is called hyjacking the article being discussed, in the circle of moderators and we would remove the questions from the discussion that were not revelant. Unfortunitly you do not have your blog set up that way.

    This apparently got under the skin, so the poster attempts to ask a bunch of other unrelated questions that have no relationship at all to material we all had been discussing.

    Since you do not have the ability to preform this task on your blog, it would be better to establish some type of understanding just to keep every thing in its proper perspective.

    If folks can just come of the wall with unrelated questions , just to create disharmony on any topic being discussed , it rather loses the importance of the subject matter and in some cases that is why they attempt to hyjack the thread. I am not allways right,nor am I allways wrong in my thought process.

    Carl Johansen

    A concerned citizen of Sandwich


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