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Recreation Commission To Propose CPC Funding For Playground At Harbor

Kristen Arute, Hingham Current Staff, September 8, 2020

Artist's rendering of suggested improvements to the Bathing Beach from Town of Hingham website

The Recreation Commission (Rec) voted unanimously to submit a funding application to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) for the construction of a playground at Hingham Harbor. "A couple of years ago we looked at presenting a playground at the Harbor, said Chair Vicki Donlan. They had looked at setting up three or four pieces of playground equipment which would be set up next to the new bath house, which is now being called a "beach house."

"One of the reasons we did not pursue this in the past was not because there was lack of interest, but at that time much of the Bathing Beach was considered to be under the Board of Selectmen," explained Donlan. "It wasn't until the Trustees of the Bathing Beach pursued the beach house when they learned that their jurisdiction was over all of this property." The Trustees have always been in favor of building a playground at the Bathing Beach. However, when the beach house was under construction, it made sense for Rec to pursue other projects that were considered more important.

The proposed playground would be fairly small and would be comprised of "a couple of swings and definitely climbing equipment" designed to match a harbor theme.  However, the cost is uncertain. "We actually were never given that budget even though we were shown the plan," said Rec Director Mark Thorell, "but given the pieces and how expensive playground surfacing is, I think $125,000 give or take $25,000."

The playground would be for younger children, ages 2.5 to 7 years old. "If (the beach house) is an ice cream place," said Donlan, "it makes greater sense to have a playground here because it keeps it to a younger group." 

Concerns were raised during the meeting about potential crowding of the area. Nandita Scott described a conversation she had had with a Hingham friend saying, "She thought that there would be town resistance because it would increase the amount of non-Hinghamites to the Bathing Beach."

Donlan agreed that the beach had been busier this year than anticipated but saw no reason for alarm. "The Town of Hingham has no desire to determine that the Town Beach is going to be a Town Beach," she said. "Same thing as the Farmer's Market, it brings people from all over." She added that the ice cream was going to be more "upscale" which could have an impact on visitor traffic.

Now that Rec has decided to move forward, the Trustees of the Bathing Beach would need to bring the information before their own board in order to approve supporting the project. "I think this is a perfect opportunity to bring something that a majority of Hingham people have voted for in the past," said Donlan. "If we can do it and the money is there, why not pursue it."

Recreation Commission members:

  • Vicki Donlan, Chair

  • Bruce Thompson, Vice - Chair

  • Adrienne Ramsey, Secretary

  • Ryan Lynch

  • Nandita Scott

Trustees of the Bathing Beach members:

  • Edward Johnson

  • Alan Perrault

  • Chris Daly

Kristen Arute can be reached at kristen@hinghamcurrent.com.