Hendricks Head Beach

Southport’s public beach

Thu, 09/19/2013 - 12:00pm

    Although Southport's special town meeting was separated into two groups, there was very little disparity in deciding on September 18 to purchase the Ruth Gardner property.

    A packed Southport Town Hall voted in overwhelming majority to allow the town to move forward and purchase the property, which borders Hendricks Head Beach.

    A room full of voters and non-voters alike were mainly positive about purchasing the property for $1.25 million.

    Southport Board of Selectmen Chairman Gerry Gamage said the town buying the beach was a long time coming.

    “This started in the early summer when Linda Murphy had a question about what to do with the beach,” Gamage said. “She started a petition and really got the ball rolling.”

    Gamage said that after a public hearing in August the town put a $1.25 million offer in for the property, contingent on a vote.

    This will be the first time the beach has been public; its largest section was owned by Ruth Gardner who allowed the public to use it.

    Had the town not acted, a private party could have purchased the property and closed the beach to the public.

    With interest on the payments over a 10-year period, the total owed will likely be in the range of $1.5 million. Gamage said taxpayers who pay $1,000 a year in property taxes could expect to see a price bump of $46.

    The discussion will soon turn to the beach's next phase.

    Gamage said some preliminary talks have taken place about possibly lopping off a section of the lawn of the Gardner property and turning it into more parking for the beach. A new driveway would be added to the house before being sold.

    Although plans for the property will be handled at a later date, a number of other ideas were floated at the meeting.

    Should the plan to add more parking go into effect, the town would also make an effort to police the parking situation to prevent people from parking along the side of the road.

    Selectman Smith Climo said that during the summer months, emergency vehicles would not be able to get through because of illegally-parked cars.

    Read other articles about Hendricks Head:

    September 10: Hendricks Head vote September 18

    August 15: Residents vote on buying Hendricks Head September 18

    August 1: Southport turns out to support beach

    July 19: Petition floats as Hendricks Head’s future remains cloudy

    Ben Bulkeley can be reached at 207-633-4620 or bbulkeley@boothbayregister.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BBRegisterBen