Chatham News

Acknowledging that their draft wastewater agreement with Harwich is a complex, weighty document, some Chatham selectmen are floating the possibility of deferring action until a special town meeting in the summer or fall, rather than seeking approval at the May annual town meeting. The board will likely make a decision at its March 14 meeting, but several people at their Feb. 28 session raised the possibly of d...

Historic Eldredge Garage Gives Up One More Secret

By: Alan Pollock

CHATHAM — A downtown landmark for more than a century, the large livery barn at the former Eldredge Garage will likely go under the wrecking ball this week, deemed unsafe to use and impractical to restore. But before being reduced to rubble, the historic building had a secret treasure for preservationists. Deep in the basement of the old building, perhaps untouched for the better part of a century, was a horse...

CHATHAM – Given the uncertainty about the future of the main navigation channel into Chatham Harbor, selectmen are raising questions about sinking millions into renovations of the municipal fish pier and are looking for more flexibility in directing resources to Stage Harbor as an alternative for the town's commercial fishing fleet. Rather than move ahead with just some of the elements of a five-year waterfron...

CHATHAM – Selectmen may not be ready for the town to move forward with a $350,000 remake of the town offices parking lot and the surrounding streetscape. The proposal, submitted as a separate capital expenditure article for the May annual town meeting, calls for resurfacing and relining of the parking lot – located in the heart of the Main Street shopping district – which could yield additional parking spaces....

Channel Dangers Recall 1950 Drownings

By: Debra Lawless

Sixty-seven years after the sad event, Archie S. Nickerson recently reminisced about the afternoon of Oct. 30, 1950, when his father and his father’s fishing partner drowned crossing Chatham Bar. Archie, now 82, is the sole remaining member of the family in which he grew up. This afternoon he is sitting at the kitchen table in his ranch house not too far from Ridgevale Beach. He opens a thin manila envelope la...

CHATHAM – The chamber of commerce is seeking an increase its annual appropriation from the town in order to step up its efforts to promote and brand Chatham as a destination for both short-term and long-term visitors. Executive Director Lisa Franz said the chamber has largely been responsible for marketing and branding Chatham, and hoped that by providing additional funds, the town could become a partner in th...

CHATHAM – Community preservation projects totaling more than $500,000 will appear on the May annual town meeting warrant, all of them with the support of the board of selectmen. Recreation-related projects dominate the CPC articles, although one critical request which almost didn't make the approved list was handled in a creative way. The historical commission had requested $30,000 under the historic preser...

CHATHAM – “Things have changed quite dramatically recently.” That was how Dr. Robert Duncanson, the town's natural resources department director, described the recent impact of storms on South Beach to the board of selectmen last week. The beach is “very narrow” and there were multiple overwashes of its southern section, he said. An area just south of Lighthouse Beach is very narrow and could break through....

CHATHAM – Deanna Ruffer, the town's director of community development since 2012, has resigned effective March 10. Ruffer said she has taken a part-time position as planner in the town of Truro. “This is an opportunity that allows me to reduce my professional responsibilities at a time in my life that I feel it is very beneficial and attractive to do so,” she said Monday. Ruffer is the second top officia...

CHATHAM – Just by walking along the shore, it's clear how much plastic washes onto the beach from the ocean. Every year, the observation is confirmed by beach cleanups, which consistently collect more plastic than any other item. It's not just a local problem; it's worldwide, as the makers of the documentary “A Plastic Ocean” discovered. “It's ubiquitous, and it shouldn't be,” said Jo Ruxton, the film's ...

Shark Numbers Keep Climbing

By: Tim Wood

CHATHAM – Researchers can't yet conclusively say how many great white sharks are in Cape waters during peak periods from August through October, but one thing is clear: Chatham and Orleans are the hot spots. In 2016, acoustic buoys off Chatham and Orleans had the most detections of any of the receivers deployed from Marshfield to Nantucket Sound. Similar results were seen in previous years. “Orleans and Cha...

CHATHAM – The town's extensive shoreline, and the public facilities which allow people to access the waterfront, are among Chatham's greatest assets. For many, it's why they vacation or buy property here. For others, it's where they make their living. It's a major economic driver, and enhancing and protecting those facilities has long been a top priority of town government. Over the next five years, officials ...