June 13, 2017
By MATT DEMIRS
SWAMPSCOTT — Changes to the entrances of the town’s beaches could be coming.
The Beach Access Coastal Resiliency Project will meet tonight to discuss the improvements designed to minimize the effects of the rising sea level and coastal flooding.
Community development director Peter Kane said when the ocean surges during storms, it causes flooding of streets and homes.
The entrances to Fisherman’s Beach, Sandy Beach (Cassidy Park), Whale Beach (Pollison Park), Phillips’ Beach, and Preston Beach are included.
Following a vulnerability analysis completed by Kleinfelder, consultants with offices in Cambridge, and the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM), Kane said some of the improvements made include changing elevations by raising the top of entrances, as well as adding grass to stop water.
More information on the renovation plans will be available at the presentation, Kane said.
Gino Cresta Jr., assistant town administrator, said one possible solution, raising the sea wall to contain the rising tides, has been ruled out.
“Ideally we would like to raise the seawall at these beach entrances,” he said. “But we can’t because we must allow residents to access these entrances.”
The town is expected to present the design plans and documentation to apply for a permit after Wednesday night’s session.
Swampscott plans to use the $106,000 grant provided by the CZM last year to complete the work.
Swampscott was one of 19 municipalities awarded more than $1.8 million in coastal resilience grant funding to support efforts to reduce the impacts from coastal storms and climate change, including storm surge, flooding, erosion and sea level rise.
Coastal flooding and the rising sea level have caused problems for the town and residents over the years, according to residents. But they haven’t had a big enough storm recently to result in serious damages, they said.
Joel Spellman, who lives near Fisherman’s beach, said he hasn’t experienced flooding in the past year. But the Sculpin Way resident said he pays $2,000 for flood insurance on his unit annually in case a big storm hits.
“We don’t take anything for granted,” he said.
The presentation will be at the Swampscott High School cafeteria at 7 p.m.
Matt Demirs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.