Other issues regarding DCR property, need for upgrades to be on the agenda
In response to a “Today in Hull” Facebook post on Wednesday about a woman who recently got her foot stuck in one of the many crevices that mar the Nantasket Beach Boardwalk and fell, sustaining serious injuries, the town and two local legislators are redoubling their efforts to arrange for a long-awaited meeting with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation as soon as possible to address not only this safety concern but also several long-standing issues.
The post also referred to a man who last week tripped and fell using his cane on the uneven boardwalk.
According to Town Manager Phillip Lemnios, state Sen. Patrick O’Connor and Rep. Joan Meschino, a Hull resident, “have raised the safety concern relative to the person who fell. Both legislators and the Select Board and staff are requesting hard for a meeting [in the very near future].”
An earlier-planned meeting with DCR Commissioner James Montgomery and his team was initially scheduled for Wednesday, but the commissioner canceled it, according to O’Connor.
“Both the town of Hull and our two offices have reached out for a new date as soon as possible,” O’Connor said. “I spoke with the commissioner this morning, informing him of what happened to this woman and how matters continue to get worse between DCR and the town of Hull.”
Meschino is working closely with O’Connor, who has taken the lead on scheduling the meeting, and is reaching out to the woman’s family to see how they can assist her directly.
In responding to the Facebook post, O’Connor said that he first heard about the incident Tuesday night from Meschino. “It is just awful and unacceptable what happened,” he stated in the post.
O’Connor pledged to keep town officials and constituents informed about when the commissioner plans to visit Hull, “which will hopefully be in the next week or two,” he said. “We will set aside time, after the town meets with him on their DCR-related needs, so residents can let their voices be heard directly by the commissioner.”
O’Connor reached out to the DCR about fixing the boardwalk in June after asking earlier to have the rocks cleared, a few items replaced, and some housekeeping items completed.
“We were told that there was no funding allocated for upgrades to the boardwalk this year,” he said.
O’Connor noted that the town is facing many DCR-related issues pertaining to economic development, quality of life, and the “ability to mature into the community that Hull strives to be.” These relate to rundown DCR property in prime areas; the disrepair of a number of DCR recreational areas, including the boardwalk; and “setbacks in state grants and other services because of the DCR’s lack of willingness to participate,” O’Connor explained in the post.
He noted, however, that the DCR employees on the Nantasket Beach Reservation are “great, doing the best they can with what they have.”
The resources from DCR at the state level are just “not there,” O’Connor said. “This lack of investment in Nantasket from DCR for decades has led us to where we are today.”
The purpose for requesting the meeting is not only to raise safety concerns related to the accident but also to “push hard for the DCR to commit to the landside improvements identified in the DCR’s 2016 Nantasket Beach Reservation Master Plan,” Lemnios said. “The time is now to commit to a robust plan for implementation of the improvements identified in that plan. We believe that $6 million has been earmarked for the reservation that could be used to make positive and significant improvements.