, Gloucester, MA


August 3, 2013

Letter: Why is Cressy’s Beach again denied CPA support?

To the editor:

For the second year in a row, funding for the restoration of Cressy Beach has been denied by the city’s Community Preservation Committee.

In March, Community Preservation Act funding was requested to restore Cressy Beach located at historic Stage Fort Park in the City of Gloucester. However, in spite of its historic background and its recreation value, the request for funds to restore the beach was denied once again.

Cressy Beach once known as Long Beach, Crescent Beach and Stage Fort Beach is one of the oldest if not the oldest beach in the City.

In 1623, members of the Dorchester Company of England organized by Reverend John White came and settled at Stage Fort, the name derived from fishing flakes or stages as they are more commonly called by the English for the curing of fish.

In the 1950s and ‘60s, I remember all to well what a beautiful beach Cressy was. If inner city people did not go to Good Harbor, they went to Cressy beach with its lifeline to the raft about 50 yards out.

The condition of the beach as I remember it was clean and sandy. However, through the years it has deteriorated due to sand erosion caused by wave surges and storm waves.

In 1935, in an effort by then-Mayor Weston Friend to protect Fisherman’s Field — now called Sam Parisi Field — a wall was erected that as it turns out was the beginning and end of Cressy Beach as we once knew it.

The wall thought to protect the field ended up causing the demise of the beach. The wall acted as a backstop enhancing wave reflection and accelerating the erosion of sand from the beach. Scientific evidence shows that hard structures such as stone barriers reflect wave energy that causes greater erosion. Sand backed by a seawall will disappear due to the scouring of wave action and rising ocean levels.

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