State beach interests Rye … Cigarette butts foul sands … Senior housing construction bids due in August … Track project on hold… Magnant new Town Administrator … Cronin leaving as Rye Public Library director … Workforce housing meeting July 22

Staff of Rye Reflections

Bring on July …

Symbolic of June was this Rye Harbor scene at 9 a.m. on the month's last Sunday, usually a day that would be bustling with activity. It was reminiscent of stories in "Bert and I" with the boats "locked in a dungeon of fog". (Jim Cerny photo)

Jenness Town Beach? …

(NEWS ITEM: A day after Rye Reflections had been published the State withdrew the draft plan "based on substantial public feedback." Click here for a text of the statement.)

The Rye Board of Selectmen has moved quickly to pass a motion stating that "the Town of Rye is interested in re-acquiring Jenness State Beach."

The June 29 action came on the heels of the New Hampshire Division of Parks and Recreation issuing a draft of its Ten-Year Strategic and Capital Improvement Plan calling for possible decommissioning, transfer, lease or disposal through the state's surplus land process of 27 properties in the state park system. (Click here for a list of the properties which also includes North Hampton State Beach and White Island, part of the Isles of Shoals and located in Rye. The Selectmen said they needed to know more about White Island costs and potential revenues before expressing interest.

"In my view this (Jenness) is a resource that would be a valuable asset to the town," said Selectman Craig Musselman.

Selectman Joe Mills recalled that the State took over Jenness from Rye after the blizzard of 1978. Mills called for a study of that deed as well as the one for White Island. "I was shocked" about the sudden announcement, said Mills, who along with Rep. David Borden, felt a poor job was done by the State in preparing the public and town officials. (See Concord Reflections column in this issue by Rep. David Borden who plans public input sessions this summer on Parks' draft plan.). Both Borden and Rep. Will Smith attended the Selectmen's meeting.

Borden asked for a public meeting as soon as possible (the draft report comment period has been extended from July 8 to July 20). Mills said it would be preferable for the board to meet with Parks officials and get more information before having a public hearing. "That would be a gong show," he said.

Musselman said he'd like to know more about the Parks' decision process. "How would they decided decide between a town and an amusement company?"

There are precedents for the Division of Parks putting its property up for grabs. Most notably a lease agreement between the State and a private group occurred in 1998 when the Muellers from Okemo Mountain in Vermont signed a 40-year lease for the Sunapee Resort. N.H. has received lease payments every year, and the Muellers have built new ski lifts and buildings along with expanding the snowmaking plant. Cannon has not paid anything back to the State and the Gunstock Recreation Area, owned by the County of Belknap, increases the local tax to pay for bad years.
The Muellers over the past 10 years have paid the State almost $4 million in lease payments and more than doubled the number of visits to the resort, some 250,000 in the 2005-2006 season.

And you thought selling the Brooklyn Bridge was a joke?

(Meanwhile, on June 24 the N.H. Legislature approved a $14.5 million capital expenditure for a Hampton Beach redevelopment project.)

Is beach one big ash tray? …

Keeping New Hampshire beaches clean is an uphill battle. Beachgoers who pick up when they leave not only contribute to maintaining the precious shore but also avert harm to marine life. According to the Blue Ocean Society, cigarettes, food wrappers, straws, bottle caps and balloons often are swallowed by birds, fish, sea turtles and even whales.

The Blue Ocean Society organizes volunteers, families and groups to perform beach cleanup monthly, and this month it will be on Wednesday, July 22, at 6:30 p.m. at Jenness Beach (at end of Cable Road). Those interested should check out the non-profit society's Beach Cleanups section.

How effective are the cleanups? Last year they collected 85,875 cigarette butts, 6,694 plastic bottle caps, 6,522 strands of rope, 4,491 metal beverage cans, 3,629 plastic beverage bottles and 3,035 straws

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain …

1st Place: Blossom  (Judy Palm photo)
The 9th Annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Competition has been held and the winners announced. The purse, more than $15,000 in awards, was a hard prize to come by. On Saturday afternoon, the day of the award presentations and voting, most of the sculptors were still working on their creations. The previous week had been rainy enough that there was not sufficient time for the sculptors to finish. They had to work right up to the last minute, even while hundreds of people walked by to cast their ballots Saturday afternoon for the People's Choice award.

The winners were:

People's Choice: Captain M...Arrrghk by Marc Lepire of Quebec, Canada

First Place: Blossom by Cal Jara of Lyndhurst, Ohio

Second Place: Dueling Grannies by Karen Fralich of Ontario, Canada

Third Place: Whispering Oak by Justin Gordon of Groveland, Massachusetts

Fourth Place: Garden Delight by Michel Lepire of Quebec, Canada

Fifth Place: Peeping Tom by Lucinda Wierenga of South Padre Island, Texas

People's Choice: Captain M...Arrrghk  (Judy Palm photo)


Times they are a changing …

The Rye Planning board will hold a special meeting on the subject of workforce housing on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of Town Hall.

Glenn Greenwood, assistant director of the Rockingham Planning Commission, will facilitate the session, expected to cover such topics as zoning, the size of the commercial area, small business areas possibly being labeled "Neighborhood Commercial" and a possible multifamily housing ordinance for the commercial area. Rye Town Counsel Michael Donovan is scheduled to review draft zoning amendments.


Camera shy, not …

Once again the Eel Pond swan couple poses for photographs for motorists who stop along Route 1A. The two (of about a dozen) cygnets are more concerned about eating than preening.(Judy Palm photo)

Quick index to back issues of Rye Crisp …

July, 2009