Marblehead residents have not minced their words when they’ve expressed dissatisfaction with the state of Redd’s Pond’s infrastructure.
For several years, the town has shoveled asphalt and cement into holes and cracks along the public pond’s path for years. Biff Martin, the Marblehead Model Yacht Club commodore, recently told the Marblehead Select Board the temporary patching lasts for so long before the holes reopen, creating a public safety hazard.
“Last summer, one of [our model yacht club] members – 82 years old – twisted and fell on his face directly on the hot-top,” Martin said, “Now he is afraid of walking there.”
After years of resident advocacy, the town is taking the first steps toward a permanent solution to address the deteriorated state of Redd’s Pond’s sidewalks. The Select Board members recently incorporated Redd’s Pond under a contract with a Danvers-based engineering firm.
“We’re doing engineering work to determine a permanent fix,” said Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer told the Marblehead News. “The engineers will come up with designs for the walls and walkways to handle all the erosion.”
Before the engineer study, Kezer said the town plans to temporarily tackle erosion issues by pulling out pavement and installing stone.
Marblehead Select Board Chairman Moses Grader agreed that patching would no longer suffice in the long term. That the town jewel merited more.
“It really deserves our complete attention,” Grader said. “There’s been some slippage on who owns [Redd’s Pond maintenance].”
The “slippage” that emerged, in part, stems from how many town departments Redd’s Pond touches: It sits on cemetery grounds. It’s a public park. And the sidewalks fall under the Marblehead Department of Public Works.
Grader, Kezer, Department of Public Works Director Amy McHugh and the Parks and Recreation Superintendent Peter James performed a site visit to better understand what’s happening and forge a cohesive approach.
“It was an opportunity to really look at the amount of erosion and the amount of degradation,” said Kezer. “It was an opportunity to huddle to talk through and have an agreement on the path forward.”
Kezer said residents’ descriptors of the state Redd’s Pond added up. The site visit, meanwhile, drew a small crowd.
“Going out there and chatting with some of the residents was helpful,” he said. “We’re getting things done.”