NEWS

Horseneck Beach gets a face-lift

Marc Munroe Dion

Two new bathhouses have opened at Horseneck Beach, marking the first two major improvements to the span in 50 years.

The $8.5 million project took a little less than one year from groundbreaking to completion.

“In today’s day and age of construction schedules, it’s hard to believe this took less than a year,” said Rep. Michael Rodrigues D-Westport.

The new bathhouses include composting toilets, which conserve water and reduce waste, and outdoor “rinsing stations” that use less water than showers. Boardwalks connecting to the beach are raised to allow sand to move freely underneath and protect beach species, while skylights reduce the need for artificial lighting in the buildings.

“All the work here has been done with an eye to the environment,” said Richard K. Sullivan Jr., Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation commissioner.

“We at DCR are very excited to be here,” Sullivan said, calling Horseneck one of the state’s “flagship” beaches.

Sen. Joan Menard said she has advocated so tirelessly for Horseneck Beach that some legislative colleagues have referred to her as “the senator from Horseneck.”

Menard also said the people who provide the everyday operations force for the beach deserve a great deal of credit.

“This wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the great reputation we have because of the people who work here,” Menard said, saying the lifeguard force at Horseneck is one of the most highly regarded in the state.

The next phase of the Horseneck rejuvenation project, a new beach services building estimated to cost $1.5 million, is out to bid right now, bids being due back by Aug. 27.

The 3,000-square-foot, wood-framed building will also be environmentally friendly and house lifeguard and beach management headquarters.

The second renovation phase will include reconfiguring the adjacent 100-site campground. The 32 camp sites will be moved inland and dunes, which have been washed away over the campground’s 40-year history, will be restored, according to the DCR, which oversees the beach and campground.

In October, DCR will begin removing the waterfront camp sites. Details of a new configuration have yet to be determined.

E-mail Marc Munroe Dion at mdion@heraldnews.com.