WHAT’S UP WITH THAT? Less bulky Fort Sewall cameras coming in New Year

Have you seen something around town that has made you curious to know “the rest of the story,” as radio host Paul Harvey used to say? Snap a photo—or tell us where we can—and send your questions to info@marbleheadnews.org.

The question

Reader Tom Dailey happened upon workers taking down cameras at Fort Sewall on Dec. 9. He spoke to the workmen, who said the cameras were being taken down because they were “too bulky” but asked if we could investigate and provide further details on why the cameras had been installed in the first place and why they were now being removed.

The answer

Looking to protect the million-dollar investment and a real cannon at a remote location, the Fort Sewall Oversight Committee funded the installation of the cameras through its donation account, Town Administrator Thatcher Kezer explained.

On Dec. 9, workers remove security cameras that had been installed at Fort Sewall. Resident Tom Dailey took the photo with the workers’ permission. COURTESY PHOTO/TOM DAILEY

“There have been instances of vandalism at the fort in the past, including during the construction process, so there have been plans from the outset of the renovation project to put in security cameras as a deterrent,” Kezer said.

Members of the Fort Sewall Oversight Committee worked with Police Chief Dennis King to devise plans to monitor the fort with security cameras while not invading the privacy of the neighbors, Kezer continued.

“The committee also focused on historical accuracy in the design process of the project, with the intent that the cameras would blend in to adhere to the design principle,” Kezer said.

But once the security equipment—which includes apparatus supporting the communications links for the cameras—was installed, it was found to be far more obtrusive than expected, according to Kezer. 

“Fortunately, the Health Department is working with the same vendor to provide additional security at the Transfer Station, so the cameras and other equipment will be moved from Fort Sewall to be used at the Transfer Station instead,” Kezer said.

The Fort Sewall Oversight Committee and town staff are now working with the vendor to find a more appropriate solution for the fort.

“We are now working with the vendor to come up with a less intrusive system and will have more details on that in the coming months,” Kezer said.

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