Volunteers Craft Benches For Ryder’s Cove Park

By: Alan Pollock

The volunteers of the Chatham-Harwich Newcomers Club, with (center) Michele Moloney-Kitts and Barbara Cotnam, organizers of the park at Ryder’s Cove. ALAN POLLOCK PHOTO

SOUTH HARWICH — When the public park at Ryder’s Cove is finally built, there will be two comfortable places for visitors to stop and reflect, thanks to the volunteer woodworkers of the Chatham-Harwich Newcomers Club.

The men are putting the finishing touches on two custom-made mahogany benches to be installed once the park is ready. Earlier this year, town meeting appropriated $79,000 to clear invasive species from the site, a triangle of land bounded by Route 28, Ryder’s Cove Road and the cove itself. Plans for the park advanced when voters rejected a plan for a parking lot on the site. Barbara Cotnam, one of the organizers of the park project, said she’s hopeful work can begin soon.

In the meantime, Cotnam and co-organizer Michele Moloney-Kitts reached out to the Chatham-Harwich Newcomers Club’s woodworking group.

“I knew about them because they had worked at Marconi,” crafting custom furniture for both the Marconi museum and the former Hotel building, Cotnam said. “They live here and want to serve the community.”

Woodworkers’ group organizer Steve Patzman said members’ handiwork can be seen all around Chatham and Harwich. At the Eldredge Public Library, they crafted custom cabinets that precisely match the old library’s ornate woodwork. There are also shelves in place at the Family Pantry of Cape Cod and at the Harwich Community Center.

“We do civic groups,” Patzman said. The volunteers also recently crafted two Little Free Libraries for children in Chatham.

The woodworkers are still reeling from the loss of two key members. Rich Clifford helped plan and execute many of the club’s projects, and Joe Linehan had actually been helping with the Ryder’s Cove bench project when he passed away. One of the benches will bear Linehan’s name on a plaque.

The park will also likely include a picnic table and a kiosk, and includes a path to an overlook high above Ryder’s Cove.

“This is going to be a joyful place,” Cotnam said.