Public invited to give input for Marblehead Harbor plan

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Marblehead officials will convene a harbor plan working group meeting on Monday evening, and the public is encouraged to attend and participate.

The working-group session kicks off in the Select Board Room of Abbot Hall, 188 Washington St., at 6 p.m. A Zoom option exists

Marblehead Habor is quite special as the only deep-water harbor on the North Shore without a breakwater wall, according to Marblehead Reconnaissance Report. The natural harbor shields over 1,000 moored boats on the water that reaches depths between 15-30 feet.

Officials look over recommendations for Marblehead Harbor on Wednesday, Sept. 14.

The Massachusetts Seaport Economic Council awarded Marblehead a $52,000 grant to fund the harbor-plan update’s execution. The town contracted with Emily Innes of Innes Associates and Tighe & Bond Engineering.

On Wednesday, Innes unveiled to members of the Marblehead Ad-Hoc Harbor Planning Committee the first glimpse of several recommendations. The recommendations, in part, reflect feedback culled from public meetings and a town-wide survey.

The finalized harbor plan- which must formally be accepted – will package “harbor resources, define and prioritize needed improvements and set a vision for the harbor.” Inness said an “implementation section” will include funding sources to carry out the plan’s recommendations.

“One of the goals of updating the harbor plan is to put the town in a better position to secure
additional funds from the Seaport Economic Council,” the town writes in the Fiscal Year 2022 municipal budget. “Once the harbor plan is updated and the town develops clearer goals and priorities, the town can then re-approach the Seaport Economic Council for funds to design, engineer and then construct these improvements.”

Harbor-wide recommendations

  • Improve/create ADA-accessible infrastructure at the public-access point
  • Conduct an impact study of sea level rise on the entire coastline for 2030, 2050, 2070
  • Investigate the feasibility of breakwater vs. wave attenuation strategies in the harbor
  • Work with Salem on a joint public education campaign about water quality and steps to improve the ecological health of Marblehead and Salem harbors
  • Create public education campaigns around boating safety for all craft
  • Identify public access points o the water on a publically available map.
  • Repair infrastructure in poor condition.
  • Install signage identifying access points as public paths. Remove blockages to public paths. Notify abutting landowners of their responsibility to clear public paths.
  • Hold public meetings to discuss information about mooring access and trawl lines

Parker’s Boatyard to Marblehead Trading Company

  • Repair seawalls
  • Initiate a master plan process for Parker’s Boatyard/Commerical Street, including evaluation of a community boating center, parking, ADA access, general public access, boat storage, Hoyer lift, hoist for small keelboats, electric boat charging and wave attenuation
  • Review solutions to better protect the property and newly renovated building
  • Address commercial street landing for commercial fishing with the following: New gangway, floating dock, conveyor belt system, additional parking and wave attenuation solutions.
  • Allow Kayak rentals at Riverhead Beach
  • Add a second Trawl line for town class and other small boats
  • Develop a master plan to protect the causeway/ Ocean Avenue from inundation and overtopping

Boston Yacht Club to Marblehead Trading Company

  • Rehabilitate seawalls and piers
  • Add facilities for transient boaters

Little Habor Lobster Company to Fort Sewall

  • Reopen dredging discussion about Little Harbor with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Division for Coastal Zone Management
  • Evaluate adding kayak storage to Gas House Beach
  • Rehabilitate and reinforce the Fort Beach and Fort Beach Lane seawalls

Stramski’s Beach to Waterside Cemetery

  • Add launch ramp to support sailing, boating and kayaking
  • Upgrade ADA complaint dock with Hoyer lift
  • Continue park and rec boating center

Waterside Cemetery to Village Street dock

  • Address ADA accessibility
  • Add services to support boating uses, including a bathroom

The Landing to downtown

  • Add signage and pedestrian wayfinding to connect the State Street Landing and Crocker Park with the downtown
  • Undertake a face-lift for State Street Landing: Replace paving materials; reorganize parking and loading, and ad coordinated street furniture (benches, trash, and recycling)
  • Replace double peirs with single peirs
  • Swap the commercial and public docks so the commercial dock is closer to the harbormaster and truck traffic shifts away from public seating and the Landing

The input and the perspective to be culled on Monday night will help inform consultants and officials as they work toward an initial draft harbor plan.

“We’ll pull together as many pieces as we can. I’m going to turn it over to [Becky Curran Cutting] and [Harbormaster] Mark [Souza] towards the end of this month, beginning of October for their review,” said Innes of the next steps. “Give them a couple of weeks, if they want to shuffle around to the other boards and committees.

She added, “We’ll come back after that’s done, turn it into a more final draft plan.”

That final draft plan, Innes said, will most likely be done in November and then be widely circulated about town and online to capture even more feedback.

“In 2006 the town first secured funding from the Massachusetts Seaport Advisory Council (now the Seaport Economic Council), to develop a Harbor Plan that assessed the harbor resources, defined and prioritized the needed improvements, and set a vision for the Harbor,” the town wrote in its Fiscal Year 2022 budget. “For the Harbor Plan update, the town envisions a healthy public participation process with a series of public meetings to obtain the input and the perspectives of the commercial boating interests, pleasure boaters, industries that support the boating communities, general public and town officials.”

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