ROCKPORT — Apparently you do bring sand to the beach, according to a selectmen-appointed committee ascribed with repairing the Long Beach seawall, which could cost up to $25 million.

Members of the Long Beach Infrastructure Committee, appointed May 30, hope most of the renovations will be paid for through grants, though some money could come from general town funds, tax money and other revenue sources. 

According to Public Works Director and committee member Joe Parisi, the committee has split the project up into two parts: sea wall construction and beach nourishment. 

The group plans to apply for its first design grant on July 21. Further design work could begin on the wall in another year or two if the committee can put funding together.

An estimated date of completion is set for the year 2025 because the project would most likely be done in phases, over multiple construction seasons. 

"It's very difficult to do the whole stretch of the beach in any single season," Parisi explained. 

Committee members, with various residents tagging along, spent their most recent meeting on June 29 walking the weathered seawall and uneven sidewalk, viewing the damage that years of storms have done to the structure. 

In danger of collapsing, the wall was built in 1933 and last rebuilt after a storm tore parts of it down in the 1950s. A stark contrast can be seen between the 1930s concrete, mixed with small stones, and the more advanced 1950s concrete.

"The idea put forward is to bring the wall to a better condition, one that can last another 75 years," Parisi said.

Preliminary design plans involve replacing unstable sections of the wall, repairing the sidewalk and incorporating three or four permanent stairways or ramps as part of the new seawall itself. 

A sediment study done a few years ago showed shifting sands at the beach, with much of the sand getting stuck in a nearby creek. State and federal permits would be involved in getting permission for dredging the creek.

"It's very unlikely that we would be allowed because it's already creating its own environment back there," Parisi said. "I don't think we'd be allowed to go back there and disturb it," 

The sand leaves the beach in the winter and most re-appears in time for summer, adding an extra support system for the wall. The committee is considering bringing from 50,000 to 100,000 cubic yards of sand to the beach to maintain that natural support.

The idea is to add more sand and "let mother nature spread it here," Parisi said.

Mary Markos may be contacted at 978-675-2708 or mmarkos@gloucestertimes.com

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