COA Friends Boost Programs
The Friends of Chatham’s Council on Aging thank the many citizens who have responded to our recent membership drive to become members of the Friends of Chatham’s COA and who have generously given additional supporting donations. With these additional supporting donations, the Friends of CCOA has been able to assist in funding the new replacement bus the COA uses to transport our seniors to medical centers, Stop and Shop, grocery and pharmacy shopping, the Orleans’ COA adult day center and more. Membership fees and donations enable The Friends of CCOA to provide funding and volunteer support for many services and programs to improve health and wellness and social events which bring together our seniors.
While age tends to isolate, the COA provides a welcoming place for seniors and caregivers to gather, celebrate birthdays, dine at our gourmet Monday luncheons, play bridge and other games, learn to use iPhones and iPads at our computer instruction center, discuss local and international events at the monthly women’s wisdom and men’s coffee hour held every Thursday, all with local friends and neighbors. Our caring outreach specialists are when there is a need. You only have to ask; there are no membership requirements. If you haven’t visited us, come and meet us and join your neighbors in supporting the Friends of CCOA. It is your senior center and we at the Friends of CCOA board of directors sincerely thank those that have done so for your generosity.
John Poignand, president
Friends of Chatham Council on Aging
A Small Act Of Kindness
It is always refreshing to hear tell of small acts of kindness.
My mother is 100 years old; her friend, Connie is 101. They met in Chatham through a mutual friend over 30 years ago and became best friends. They shared common interests and enjoyed being with one another. While Mom still lives in Chatham, Connie moved to Vermont several years ago to live near her daughter. Though Connie moved away, she returns each year to Chatham to visit Mom, and they always have lunch at The Squire. They enjoy splitting a beer and a plate of fried oysters, topped off by Connie’s favorite dessert, Indian Pudding.
Monday was their annual get-together; Connie’s driver brought them to The Squire for their lunch. They found a parking spot right outside, but both Mom and Connie need assistance in walking. Connie’s driver helped Mom into The Squire first, and while she returned to the car to help Connie, Mom waited inside at the front of the restaurant and spoke to the hostess. She mentioned how much they enjoyed celebrating their friendship at their annual lunch The Squire. She also mentioned how old they both were.
Connie and Mom again enjoyed their half beer, the heaping plate of fried oysters and French fries, followed by the Indian pudding. When the time came to settle up, their waitress told them that lunch was “on The Squire.” She said The Squire was pleased to host their celebratory luncheon of their longstanding friendship.
What a nice thing for The Squire to do for these ladies! It’s not often we hear the nice things that people do for others. So, thank you, Squire, for your kindness. You made two old friends very happy!
Cloth Is The Solution
In reference to the editor voicing the opinion that plastic bags should not be banned and that paper bags break, I would like to bring to his attention a solution: Bring your own reusable cloth bags to the grocery store! This is simple to do and would not affect the environment.
Pauline M. Grocki
Selectman Shows Leadership
Unless and until voters wake up to the fact that they have been well-served by Selectman Seth Taylor and re-elect him, things will not change. Voters should be ready and proud to vote for Seth because he has shown energetic, effective, and resolute leadership throughout his term, especially in disputing the federal government's claim to nearly 4,000 acres of submerged lands in Nantucket Sound. Seth is a man of great political courage and has strongly advocated for honest, fair, and transparent government. He is not afraid to call out failures in the way our town government sometimes behaves. Seth's integrity and courage are a tribute and credit to Chatham traditions.
Skydiving Editorial Misinformed
Your editorial on “The Skydiving Effect” is misinformed. You trivialize the lawsuit. Do you really think that two impartial judges on four separate occasions would refuse to dismiss the case unless they deemed it to have significant merit?
You state that lack of skydiving is “a huge loss to the company that operates the airport on behalf of the town.” Based on information reviewed and interviews conducted by Feith and Associates, they state in their safety report, “the belief that the loss of skydiving at Chatham would have a 'negative' economic impact is not supported by the available facts. In the interview with Mr. Howard, the airport manager, he stated that the only revenue would come from leased office space, fuel sales, and very limited aircraft maintenance since Skydive Cape Cod did not have their aircraft maintained at the Chatham Airport, thus the total revenue was not substantial.”
Loss of property values due to skydiving is real. Our neighbors described to selectmen in an email dated Aug. 1, 2013 how their house sale negotiations were “completely halted inside the house” three times by the noise from low-flying skydive airplanes and the potential buyers walked. The subsequent sale was 15 percent less.
Danger is real. The plane which crashed in the lake nearly landed on our house and could have killed us. Skydive planes are so heavily loaded that they go up with the minimum of gas in the tank, so there was insufficient to get back to base.
Margaret Tompsett MD
Davis Would Be A Valuable Asset
We have known Shareen Davis (candidate for selectman) for many years. During this time, we have seen her serve on a variety of local boards, putting in long hours, and making her privy to the operation of local government. She has worked as a family business owner, a downtown business owner and juggled volunteer time for a variety of causes. Her family business (fishing) involves navigating the complex world of local, state and federal regulations. Her downtown experience has made her knowledgeable regarding the ups and downs of a tourist-based economy. And over the years, she has donated her time and her art to several charities, always benefiting the local community.
So you can see, her experience in a variety of venues, gives her a unique perspective, which we believe, would make her an invaluable asset to our board of selectmen.
Bob and Rosemarie Denn
Entitled To Object To Skydiving
Pursuant to your editorial, and the following statement made at the board of selectmen meeting on Dec. 6, 2016, when Selectman Taylor in referring to a nuisance caused by an odor from a dumpster placed by The Squire restaurant on town land:
“I have a real problem with that, simply because this is town property and we have a valid complaint from an abutting residential property owner, who I think has the right to say he doesn’t want it there...I don’t see us going to this extreme to allow a private use of public property that a member of our citizenry is so opposed to. They’re entitled to what it is that bothers them, and if having a dumpster abutting their property on town land bothers them, I don’t think we should be doing that.”
I totally agree with Selectman Taylor’s thesis, so applying his reasoning to skydiving, the last sentence above would read:
They’re entitled to [object to] what it is that bothers them, and if having a private skydiving operation abutting their property on the town airport bothers them, I don’t think we should be doing that.
So I have to ask: Is it hypocritical to claim that there are there rights for some property owners and none for the many households, who could be subjected again to the frequent deafening, conversation-stopping roar and safety issues associated with skydiving, which did not exist when they bought their properties?
Dr. Mike Tompsett
Heartbroken Over Chatham Status
I applaud my uncle, Todd Kelley on his very keen evaluation on what is now considered normal in our hometown. His letter in the March 9 issue sums up what has been occurring unchecked for many years. At some point in time, Chatham became this small pie that everyone suddenly had to have their fingers in. Call it what you will, but Chatham is a town that has become entirely overrun with outsiders, many of whom fail to understand the culture that existed here prior to their arrival.
The chamber of commerce cries that the town needs to be promoted as a destination and needs to be "branded." It seems to me that Chatham could use a little less promotion. Is too much still not enough? Besides being overrun, Chatham is continuously being sold out. My heritage and that of my fellow Chathamites has been boxed up and turned into a cheap object of amusement and retail. How is that for branding? Today, Chatham is less the community where I was raised and more just the name that appears on my birth certificate. And I don't say that lightly; it absolutely breaks my heart.
The unrelenting "promotion" of Chatham and the real estate market are no longer aimed for the working class, nor is the content of the town itself. Remember that Chatham is the town that once had two lumber yards, two auto parts stores, a bowling alley and its own school district. Nowadays, the town is a glittered object of obsession further carved up between a core group of about five real estate developers whose crusade for total buildout further diminish the prospect of Chatham ever returning to the type of community that could be inhabited by the next generation of working class families. The insatiable desire to bring in more second homeowners and to turn every home into a "starter castle" essentially guarantees this. In the 1980s, one of Chatham's well-known real estate developers said that Chatham was "undersold" and needed to go more "upscale." Did that approach benefit the roots of the town? I think not.
Reconsidering All That Plastic
I thought I knew everything I needed to know about the plastics that are in our oceans until I saw the Jo Ruxton and Adam Leipzig film "A Plastic Ocean,” presented by "Pleasant Bay Community Boating" at the Orpheum Theater with a Skype Q&A with Jo Ruxton.
At the panel discussion at the Eldredge Library after the film, one of the panelists, Laura Ludwig of The Center for Coastal Studies, said her wedding ring is made from plastic because plastic is forever. This concept of plastic being here on this planet forever has moved me deeply. Since that day I have considered every piece of plastic in my life as a commitment, a responsibility, and a marriage.
Plastic is forever; once produced it is literally plastic forever. It cannot become soil or water or something natural. It will always be toxic to humans and to animals. If burned the chemicals released will always be toxic and harmful to animals and to humans.
I have been looking around at my life that is filled with plastic things: my shower curtain, the paint on the walls, the spandex in my tights and skirt, my toothbrush...
What is my commitment to these things that will still be on his planet in some toxic shape long after I am gone and on into eternity? What is my responsibility?
A Positive Candidate For Selectman
My husband and I have been following the candidacy of Shareen Davis, who is running for a seat on the Chatham Board of Selectmen. We have heard her speak to groups on three occasions, and at each event we have learned more about her background and how she feels about both the role of selectmen and the issues. Shareen spent time explaining her reasons for running and her qualifications, but spent even more time listening to the concerns of the people in attendance.
Each time I heard her interact, my admiration for her grew. Having lived in Chatham all her life, having gone to school here, raised her family here, and worked in more than one field, she seems to grasp that the issues facing Chatham need to be examined from many angles. But the compelling quality that impresses me about Shareen in dealing with these issues is her “positivity."
My dad often quoted the old adage, “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Shareen Eldredge is not a "squeaky wheel.” She reminds me more of a well-oiled, fine-tuned wheel that works in union with the other three, that will get the vehicle to its place of destination efficiently and in a timely fashion, all wheels working together for the same goal.
Supporters Walk The Walk
With the help of Chatham Wayside Inn, John Fraser’s twisted sense of humor and the generosity of more than 150 merchants, tradesmen, local businesses and volunteers, the 10th annual Tools of the Trade was a fantastic night out and an incredible benefit for the families of Monomoy Community Services.
The Monomoy staff and board of directors wish to express our deepest appreciation to our supporters for their willingness to truly “walk the walk,” making the lives and livelihood of children and families in our community a priority.
Theresa Malone, director
Monomoy Community Services, Inc.
Reliable, Dedicated Candidate
We enthusiastically support Shareen Davis for Chatham Selectman. Her leadership skills are extraordinary. For instance, Shareen was one of three people appointed by selectmen to organize the 2012 Chatham tercentennial celebration. When the Chatham 300 Steering Committee was considering proposals for events, we can testify to the fact that she exhibited a thoughtful approach at all times. She listened to all points of view, she expressed clear ideas and she willingly shared her reasons for or against proposals, while always giving full support to final decisions. Her follow-through efforts helped to make for a hugely successful year-long celebration. Additionally, in order to provide a lasting legacy, Shareen played a major role in producing the tercentennial book “Chatham Massachusetts – Find Your Way Here,” which will always be looked to for its importance in capturing Chatham’s history, art and culture.
Shareen has also given to the community in many other ways by actively supporting organizations dear to her heart, quietly donating her time, guidance and creativity. These organizations include the Atwood House Museum/Chatham Historical Society, Women of Fishing Families, Chatham Angel Fund, Chatham Merchants Association, small business organizations, environmental groups, and a number of artist support groups. In addition, Shareen’s renowned photography, along with her strong advocacy, has helped to raise awareness for the fishing and shellfishing industry.
She is a reliable, dedicated person and we’re confident that she has the ability to take on this leadership role. We urge voters to cast a ballot on May 11 for Shareen Davis.
Don and Debbie Aikman
State Failing In Affordable Housing
Your article (“Affordable Units In Limbo,” March 30) is a classic example of why Massachusetts has failed to develop an effective and successful affordable housing program. When you are number 47 of the 50 states in the production of affordable housing and until 2010 were number 49 (thanks to Mississippi), there has to be a way that is better than our vaunted MGL 40B,
While the state and the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) are easy to blame, a greater share of responsibility really lies in the legislature and its joint committee on housing. For the past three sessions this committee has had hundreds of bills before it seeking a better way yet most of the bills die in committee and never get to the floor for debate and a recorded vote.
There are two ways to look at the developer's dilemma. Firstly, he didn't build affordable units when using 40B to force acceptance of the project and then saying his costs prevent him making a reasonable profit doesn't pass the saliva test as 40B allows a 20 percent profit level which is well above the national average for housing development profits. Alternatively, lack of more uniform and balanced zoning laws makes a breeding ground for developer abuses and predatory use of MGL 40B. Here again, attempts to make the MGL 40A more flexible and reasonable consistently results in related bills dead in committee.
One must wonder that this dilemma is created by the heavy lobbying of the development industry that benefits by the existence of MGL 40B, while our current housing crisis and lack of affordable units persists. Many years ago, I labeled 40B as a developer's welfare program and that connotation continues today.
John Belskis, chairman
Coalition for the Reform of 40B
Candidate Honors Chatham Heritage
As a fellow committee member, I know how delighted Shareen Davis was when the Chatham Board of Selectmen named her a member of the Chatham Tercentennial Committee. She was a diligent, creative volunteer, and a "multi-tasker" with a strong voice working tirelessly to bring honor to Chatham's 300th anniversary
As a 13th generation Nickerson, she and her husband, Ernie Eldredge, and their family proudly walked in the processional to Kate Gould Park which launched the Founders' Day opening ceremony, June 11, 2012. Shareen, along with the rest of the committee, felt a tremendous sense of pride in our town as the festivities began. Because I know firsthand Shareen's dedication to Chatham, she has my vote for Selectman.
Group Has Town's Best Interest At Heart
In its recent editorial “The Skydiving Effect,” The Chronicle states that “a small group of town residents who oppose skydiving in Chatham can adversely effect the town and especially the business community.” I suggest otherwise. We are not a small group and we are committed to the wellbeing and success of both Chatham’s residents and its business community.
Members of Citizens for a Safe Chatham Airport care deeply about Chatham in many ways. We support Chatham’s businesses throughout the year: grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, contractors, plumbers, etc. Some of us serve on various town committees and commissions. We clean up the beaches and aid stranded boaters off of South Beach who have misjudged the tides. Others spend countless hours volunteering at historic sites such as the Marconi Maritime Center and the Chatham windmill. In other words we don’t “drop” in once a year. You can count on our business and our overall interest in the town.
CSCA is not a group of citizens who take challenging the town of Chatham lightly. Chatham is not the place for skydiving for reasons of safety and quality of life. Past selectmen have agreed with our position. Unfortunately, our present board of selectmen does not. It is reassuring that a Barnstable judge feels this case should be heard.
Yes, I am a member of CSCA and I do live close to the airport. Even if I lived in North Chatham, I would applaud the effort to stop skydiving in our town.
Project Will Have Big Impact
The Cape Cod Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) held a meeting last week to hear more testimony about the West Chatham Roadway Project, which is being considered for further postponement or tabling. Chatham’s town manager was advised to bring all her people to the meeting and/or get support letters from them. Rudnick, Marsh, Myers, Whiteley, Upson and others wrote letters supporting the project, and the lineup of speakers was notable: Oppenheim, Whitcomb, Summers, Seldin, Leavitt, and spouses of selectmen and former selectmen. Clearly a selectmen-developer project. A battle of the wills about a roadway project that the people and the business owners and operators have never wanted and still don’t and yet one that is highly supported by the development community.
Mr. Summers advised the MPO that prior to the vote on Dan Meservey’s town meeting article in 2013 to stop funding for the project, the moderator announced that the vote was nonbinding. Absolutely false and yet it was said, as were many other statements that have no basis in the truth.
MassDOT announced the following schedule for construction of the roadway: spring 2019 – first shovels in the ground; summer 2019 – no work; fall 2019 – work continues; winter 2020 – work to be done depending on weather; spring 2020 – work goes on; fall 2020 – assuming no problems, work to be wrapped up. Five seasons. In reality, seven seasons as a road under construction will affect the ability or desire of customers to transit the construction area. Can you imagine the impact that will have on businesses, not only in West Chatham, but up and down the corridor? We are calling on Selectman Nicastro to be true to his commitment not to support a project that lasts more than two to three seasons.
David E. Burns, M.D.
New PAC Seeks Cohesion
The newly formed Chatham Citizens for Responsible Government is a registered political action committee of hard-working Chatham families and taxpayers in the retail, restaurant, hospitality, fishing, building trades, professional services and other related industries. Our purpose is to inform Chatham voters and non-voting taxpayers on critical issues of local government affecting our lives, livelihood and the future of Chatham.
Chatham Citizens for Responsible Government (CCRG) believes an informed citizenry is essential to preserving and advancing Chatham’s longstanding heritage as a cohesive community caring for the interests of all residents, not just special interests. We have become alarmed by recent harmful trends seeking to divide Chatham. Chatham’s great strength derives from its diversity of people united in their care for one another and their enduring love for Chatham. CCRG pledges to work diligently for a responsible town government, fairly addressing the needs of one Chatham.
Rick Leavitt, chairman
Chatham Citizens for Responsible Government
Chili Today, Hot Tamale
Though a bit tardy this letter is to let folks know of what they missed if they were not at Monomoy Regional High School on Saturday, March 18 to partake of the Chili Extravaganza!
Spearheading the great event was teacher Angie Chilaka, who teaches Health Education as well as classes in C.P.R. Students who set up this affair were from the Human Rights Organization, the Spirit Committee and Culinary Arts. This festivity was held in the fabulous cafeteria of this beautiful and very functional new school. It was a benefit program for both the H.E.C.H. (Harwich Ecumenical Council for the Homeless) and C.E.C.H. (Chatham Ecumenical Council for preventing Homelessness).
Local restaurants and organizations of both Harwich and Chatham were asked to partake in this assembly of their specialties in chili. It was very warming to the heart as well as the tongue! Some of the entries were quite mild and extremely flavorful. The crowd attending was very pleased that they had so many choices to taste test.
Being of special interest to we folks from C.E.C.H. and Chatham was when they took a tally of the most popular chili. Guess who won – Chatham Police Department! Don't miss next year. Make it their best attended. Thank you all so much – we loved it!
Rebecca Arnold, Dianne Kennedy, Phyllis Tileston
Cutting Civics A Bad Decision
It was quite disappointing to read the article regarding the discontinued requirement for a civics class at Monomoy High School. I wonder what is replacing it. Given today's highly charged political atmosphere and the apparent interest in government by today's young people, I believe that it is vital for our young people to understand how government is structured and what makes it work at all levels from municipal to federal. I'm sure that the students get information and opinions from teachers in other subjects relative to our government. However, I believe that this subject needs to be taught by someone who is qualified in the subject as well as totally objective. Teachers political beliefs and leanings should not be brought to the classroom as too often is the case today nationwide. To conclude, I believe that this was a bad decision.
Year-rounders Had Enough Already
When we became “year-rounders” in 1973, the emphasis in town was how to protect this fragile peninsula from over-development and how to keep Chatham from becoming “Anywhere, U.S.A.”
Now the chamber is pushing for more funds so they can advertise in Europe and make Chatham a “destination” so more people can come.
We – who actually live here – receive no benefit from this. If this more, more and more article passes at Town Meeting, let the chamber pay for it. We, the undersigned, say “enough already.”
Anne Foster, Ginger Plexico, Susan Collins, Carol Hutchinson, Jane Meincke, Cindy Yeaw, Ann O'Connell
Time For A Change
Charter Review Committee Chairman Doug Hamilton’s excellent letter in last week’s Chronicle accurately described Selectman Taylor’s conduct at many CRC meetings.
Over the past four years, I have watched with dismay and concern the divisive and derisive behavior of Mr. Taylor toward others, including advisory committees, the town manager, town staff and even his fellow selectmen.
Mr. Taylor’s hostility toward nonresident taxpayers is manifested by his residential tax exemption proposal that discriminates against nonresidents; his bylaw proposal to give residents preference over nonresidents on advisory committees, regardless of qualifications; and his attempt to prevent nonresidents from making agenda requests to the BOS.
At a selectmen’s interview of an airport commission candidate, during a discussion of potential uses of new airport hangars, Mr. Taylor remarked on the public record that he did not “want to see them being rented to Brazilian painters and landscapers.”
At last week’s meeting of Chatham’s Economic Development Committee, Mr. Taylor culminated almost one hour of discourse about his proposed rental bylaw with the disparaging admonition to the committee to “recognize... that certain things are beyond your pay grade.”
The list goes on and on. It’s time for a change.
Chatham and Venice, Fla.
Charter Committee, Selectman Clash
Douglas Hamilton, in his letter of March 30, has forgotten several important facts about the charter review committee (CRC) he chaired between 2013 and 2015.
Fact one: Despite what he wrote, there were several attempts to eliminate the presumption that town meeting votes are binding. The additional language that CRC added and town meeting did not approve, however, was an effort to further weaken the charter. The moderator himself, in an email to CRC, warned that they were imposing a restriction that was not legally binding.
Fact two: that the committee he chaired was charged with and found to have violated the Open Meeting Law by the state’s Attorney General. Part of that violation was a serial email in which the former chairman and members disparaged Seth Taylor, who was running for selectman (a seat he won). The former chairman is still at it – attempting to disparage Selectman Taylor. Oddly, Mr. Hamilton still refers to himself as “chairman” and improperly makes it appear he is somehow speaking for the defunct committee.
Fact three: that many of us who attended CRC meetings were made from the beginning to feel unwelcome and were often treated rudely, including Seth Taylor. At the CRC’s first meeting, the chairman stated that he did not want to hear from citizens, unless the committee invited them to speak. There were only two of us in attendance, and we were referred to as “troublemakers,” without having spoken a word. Quite a turn-around from previous CRCs which welcomed public participation.
Gloria M. Freeman
Shame Building Remains Vacant
Thank you to Dean Hederstedt for bringing the ignored Harwich Middle School vote to the public's
attention. I do not know what the board of selectmen or the town administrator's longterm plan for this
vacant building is, but what I do know is that the town of Harwich is in desperate need of senior
and low income housing. To see this valuable asset sitting vacant since 2012 is shameful.
Joan M Jones
On Edge Of Political Abyss
Heads up, Chatham!
Do we really want a re-do of the National campaigning our country just went through? I will remind everyone, including myself, that when a candidate spends months slamming an opponent rather than extolling their own plans for the future, loss is inevitable.
No more poorly photo-shopped negative garbage that was sent to every Chatham taxpayer earlier this year. Anonymous, of course.
No more nasty emails sent under the guise of a newly-formed PAC, directed at a sitting selectman of our Town.
I can't believe Shareen Davis has allowed herself to be pulled into this abyss. And it's only just begun.
We are a town far better than all this; let's show it.
Photo Sparks Baseball Memories
Kudos to Francis Jones for submitting that great photo of the Chatham Town Team for Remember When March 30. I have a 1948 Chatham season program that I have had in my scrap book for many, many years. The front cover says “Chatham Baseball Club Season of 1948.” Listed below that were the managers and assistant managers: Merrill Doane, Franklin Eldredge, Francis Doane, Richard Welch, Everett A. Eldredge and George W. Nickerson. On the back side are the names of the team and their numbers which ran from 2 to 44. Five players listed in the program were not in the photo and they were: Leon Eldredge, Harold Bassett, Eugene Eldredge, Thomas Slavin and Donald Howes.
The team played 49 games from May 16 to Sept. 6. The Cape towns participating in the summer league were Brewster, Harwich, Dennis, Orleans, Yarmouth and Chatham. Several brothers played on the Chatham team. Leon/Sullie Eldredge, Kenneth/Edmund Nickerson, Robert/Harold Goodwin, Francis/Norman Jones and Merrill/Francis Doane.
Inside the cover the 1948 schedule was printed and there were games with other towns that were “off Cape,” so I am assuming they were home games. The other towns played were Raynham TT, Polish AA Taunton, Fairhaven Varsity Club, Wareham TT, Brockton VFW, Baylies Club of New Bedford and Rochester TT. Twenty games were away games and I probably didn’t attend any of them, but I more than likely saw most of the other 29 games played on home turf. I lived on Seaview Street, so it was a short walk for me to get to the ballpark.
I feel very fortunate to have a program for the same year as the team photo Fran submitted. Does anyone else remember seeing games where the umpire stood behind the pitcher rather than behind the catcher?
Roland W. Kelley
Sensible, Caring Selectman's Candidate
I have known Shareen Davis for at least 20 years. She is an intelligent, caring, sensible person with a deep concern for the well being of our small town and the bigger picture as well. Politically and socially active, she has the motivation, energy and temperament that being a good selectman requires. And she has a long history of working with others to get things done. I am supporting Shareen and I hope that you will too.
Rethink Grandiose Harbor Plan
Why does the Harwich harbormaster want to get into the restaurant business at Saquatucket Harbor? As a result of the “sticker shock” from the $5 million estimated price tag, the Saquatucket Development Committee and the harbormaster were forced to cut back their “land side” plans. The workshop/maintenance building will still be 2,300 square feet, bigger than Stage Harbor, Ryder's Cove, Wellfleet, Sesuit Harbor or the garage at the Sandwich Marina. The office building will still have a large conference room, break room, a second floor harbormaster office that measures 12 by 27 feet, and a two-room suite for the natural resource officer.
Also, the plan now is to build and lease a “snack shack” right beside the harbormaster’s office. The town will need to borrow $172,000 to construct the 500-square-foot take-out business. Also, the new plan keeps the $157,000 municipal septic system that was planned in anticipation of building the larger restaurant/bar. That’s right. Harwich is being asked to go deeper in debt to build a super-sized septic system for the restaurant/bar that might be built someday on the same location as the $172,000 snack shack that we are asked to pay for today. The town’s debt payments for the next 20 years will come to about $17,000 annually for the shack and the excess capacity of the super-sized septic. I would guesstimate a small business might bid $500 a week for a 10-week summer season or $5,000 a year.
Bottom line: taxpayers are asked to approve this debt exclusion (override) article in May that, as a minimum, will results in a loss of $12,000 per year. If that isn’t bad enough, this will result in unfair, government-subsidized competition that could hurt other nearby small food businesses. Why do this? Spend some of this money on beautification and better green space or mini-parks closer to dockside that non-boaters can enjoy. Designate the footprint of the available space and offer the land on a long-term lease (25 to 50 year). Eliminate unnecessary debt. Eliminate town labor for management or maintenance of this business. Allow the private sector, who really knows how to do this, to build the business that they feel will work. (Maybe it’s not a restaurant, but a fish market and restaurant.) All in all, maybe we should stop and rethink this “grandiose” plan.