Long awaited improvements to Barrington Beach are underway, the first step being the demolition of the old cement-block beach hut at the bottom of Bay Road. Workers from the department of public works spent last Thursday afternoon taking down the structure that dates to the 1950s.
Barrington Town Planner Philip Hervey sent out a press release detailing the project and alerting the public that the beach will be closed to car traffic beginning Oct. 21 until further notice.
“Due to the reconstruction of the parking lot as part of a water quality improvements project, the beach will be closed for parking. The Town anticipates the parking restriction will be in place at least eight weeks before the project is shut down for the winter to resume in the spring of 2014,” Mr. Hervey wrote.
The beach hut was removed to improve traffic flow into the parking lot and provide room for the rain gardens at the end of Bay Road. The “block” building is no longer needed due to the new office/restroom building that was dedicated last summer.
The work on the beach improvements is anticipated to be completed by the end of May 2014. The contractor is William Anthony Excavating of North Kingstown. Gifford Design Group of Cumberland is the town’s design consultant for the project.
The town is utilizing local bond funding to leverage a State Revolving Fund loan for “green infrastructure” improvements at the beach. The State Revolving Fund, co-managed by the R.I. Clean Water Finance Agency and Office of Water Resources, provides below market rate loans for water pollution abatement projects, as well as principal forgiveness for inclusion of “green infrastructure” features in the design. The financing from the State for the Town Beach project included a principal forgiveness totaling approximately $50,000.
The $358,630 project includes:
• Re-pavement of the entire parking lot.
• Expansion of the beach area with the removal of sections of asphalt nearest the beach.
• Parking spaces will be eliminated at the west end of the beach, an area where the asphalt has become undermined due to frequent flooding. Overall, the number of parking spaces will be reduced from about 100 to 80; however, the area near the new beach building will be available for overflow parking as needed.
• Removal of an asphalt swale in the Water Way right of way at the west end of the beach, to be replaced with a drainage swale designed to improve water quality and reduce beach erosion.
• Rain gardens at several locations within the parking lot, including at the end of Bay Road and at the end of Beach Road.
• New wood bollards and wood fence guardrail replacing all existing metal and wood guardrail.
• Other improvements, including plantings, new bike racks holding up to 26 bikes, new benches, new service access gates and a new outdoor shower.
— By Joan D. Warren