Saturday, May 13, 2023

Senator Tarr, Representative Shand, and Salisbury Officials Hail Collaborative Efforts With Department of Conservation and Recreation to Restore Beach Access Points in Salisbury

#Salisbury, MA In response to the closure of Salisbury Beach access points 8, 9, and 10 by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Senator Bruce Tarr, Governor Maura Healey, State Rep. Dawne Shand, local officials, and concerned stakeholders have committed to promptly address the situation. Following winter storms that damaged the beach access points, necessitating their closure, a move that raised concerns, town and state officials have gathered to find a solution to this pressing issue. 

Yesterday, at a Merrimack River Beach Alliance Salisbury Sub-Committee meeting, DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo and his team provided details for work that will commence beginning Monday. DCR will renovate and restore two access points, 9 and 10, immediately. They will secure certification for the placement of sand at those points to provide additional support for the structures.

Access point 8 will require demolition to build an entirely new structure - DCR is working to finalize plans for that portion of the project. The town has also engaged environmental consultant Tom Hughes and a structural engineer to contribute to the analysis and planning of the replacement of the access points. Hughes has also produced a larger plan, on behalf of the town, to remediate severe erosion between access points 5 and 10. DCR has convened a team to work on that plan

Following site visits on the beach this week, Governor Maura Healey, DCR Commissioner Brian Arrigo, and a delegation of state officials, including Senator Bruce Tarr and State Rep. Dawne Shand, discussed the importance of maintaining these access points for public safety, environmental protection, and beachgoers' convenience. The officials emphasized restoring the access points to use as soon as possible will require collaboration and speedy and effective action to get the job done without delay.

"Through commitment, collaboration, and resourcefulness, we are now on a determined path, with specific action steps, to get these access points back to service to accommodate the beachgoers that the summer season is bringing. Thanks to Governor Healey, Commissioner Arrigo, and Salisbury's municipal officials for working with us to get the job done," said Senator Tarr who Chairs the Merrimack River Beach Alliance.

Under Commissioner Brian Arrigo's leadership, DCR has assembled a team and has engaged the services of Stantec, a structural engineering consulting company, which has already made a site visit to Salisbury Beach to evaluate the structural integrity of the closed access points and has created work plans for two of the three structures. In addition, the meeting included further talks on beach erosion concerns on other portions of the beach that will require sand restoration.

Commissioner Arrigo said repairs on two of the elevated structures and the placement of sand and snow fencing will commence under existing orders, likely within the month. Stantec is also expected to prepare construction details for the scope of work and timeline for the structure at access point 8.

Tarr, and Representative Dawne Shand expressed appreciation for the prioritization of this issue by Governor Healey and Commissioner Arrigo, and also acknowledge their commitment to a phase 2 to include greater efforts to address beach erosion.

"We are grateful to DCR for their swift actions and to the residents and municipal officials of Salisbury for their patience and steady advocacy," said State Representative Dawne Shand.

"With swift responses from DCR and the Healey-Driscoll Administration, our objective of ensuring public safety, protecting the environment, and providing vital beach entry points is moving forward effectively," said Senator Tarr. "Salisbury Beach is an important resource that has attracted people and wildlife for generations and these steps affirm our best efforts to keep the beach accessible."

“I am pleased with the cooperation the Town has received with regard to accesses 8, 9 & 10. I look forward to our mutual interests being addressed. I also want to thank Governor Healy, Senator Tarr, and Representative Shand for all they have done,” said Chairman Chuck Takesian, Salisbury Board of Selectmen.

“The Town is grateful for the diligent attention that Senator Tarr and Representative Shand have paid to this issue. Providing convenient access to Salisbury Beach for residents and the thousands of people who will want to visit the Town this summer is critical for our community. Thanks also to DCR for stepping up and addressing the problem of the damaged infrastructure at Access points 8, 9, and 10,” said Salisbury, Massachusetts Town Manager Neil Harrington. “With Memorial Day just around the corner, we all want people to be able to enjoy the beach this summer."

Salisbury Beach, acquired by the state of Massachusetts in 1933, holds tremendous historical significance as a public resource, guaranteeing coastal access for all. With nearly 500 campsites within the state park, the campground attracts thousands of visitors during the summer season.