Technological Difficulties Interfere with Harbor Plan Working Group Presentation
A public communication session planned by Marblehead’s Harbor Plan Working Group on Monday night, September 19, 2022, beginning at 6PM, was scheduled to take place both at Abbot Hall and on Zoom. Because of ongoing technical problems with the equipment at Abbot Hall, the two meetings were held separately.
The Abbot Hall meeting was hosted by urban planner and consultant Emily Innes of Innes Associates. Dennis Moran of engineering firm Tighe and Bond hosted the Zoom meeting. When questioned, Town Planner Becky Curran confirmed that the in-person meeting at Abbot Hall was the meeting of record and would be reflected in any future minutes.
The overall purpose of the meeting was for Innes to present a high-level overview of the Harbor Master Plan currently under development and for the public to have an opportunity to give input and suggestions on various harbor front projects outlined in the plan.
Innes explained that the final presentation will have two components. The first will be a static plan that explains the recommended harbor front projects and infrastructure improvements. The second will be a digital interactive map that will show the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood zones and projected sea level increases, while also labeling ownership of the various projects.
The areas being reviewed include:
- Stramski Park, including accessible bathrooms and docking for boats
- Little Harbor, including dredging, kayak storage, and seawall rehabilitation
- The area from the Landing to Crocker Park and the Boston Yacht Club, including rebuilding the piers and seawalls and providing more locations for transient boaters to dock
- Parker’s Cove and the Marblehead Yacht Club, to better provide for boat storage and community access to the water, as well as repair the seawalls
Innes presented several boards set up in Abbot Hall and asked members of the public to walk around and indicate the priority they would assign to each project and also make comments and suggestions on the boards. Innes wrapped up by explaining next steps and taking questions from the public.
Meanwhile, on Zoom, approximately 20 participants listened to a similar presentation given by Dennis Moran of engineering firm Tighe and Bond. Moran acknowledged that he had not intended to give this presentation initially, but was stepping in due to the technical difficulties that prevented the Zoom participants from connecting with Abbot Hall.
At the in-person meeting, Innes indicated that she will present a draft of the master plan to the Harbor Plan Working Group in several weeks that will include input from this meeting and from a smaller stakeholder session held last week with commercial users of the harbor. This draft will be available for further public review sometime in November. A final draft will be presented for final approval sometime in December or January of 2023. Town Planner Becky Curran explained that the approval process, including which board(s) are responsible for approving this plan, will depend on the specifics of the Seaport Economic Council grant funding this study and will be announced when the final plan is presented.
Curran also announced that Marblehead recently received a Coastal Zone Management grant for $523,220, specifically for the next phase of a study of the property located at the Marblehead Light Department headquarters and the nearby Commercial Street and Parker’s Cove locations. While not specifically part of the plan presented by Innes, it is another step in securing funding to improve accessibility, sustainability, and resiliency for Marblehead’s waterfront.