Plans for the new Houghton’s Pond bathhouse are picking up speed after a community meeting on the project took place Wednesday night at the Trailside Museum in Milton.
Done with the help of the Patrick-Murray Administration, the $3.15 million plan, which calls for a new 4500 sq/ft bathhouse and wooden boardwalk from the parking lot to the beach, is slated to begin construction in Spring 2011.
But fear not, the beach will still be available come summer. In June, construction will be put on hold so residents can enjoy the beach, said W. Peter Church, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Regional Director for the Urban Parks South region.
“The main point is the recreational area will still be open this summer. The demo was slated for springtime of the bathhouse ... but we’re going to try to have as minimal impact as possible,” he said.
Final design and prep will happen this winter. In spring, the building of the boardwalk and the demolition of the current bathhouse will occur. Portable toilets will be used during the interim for the spring and into the summer.
After the summer season, fall 2011, the bathhouse construction will begin. By summer 2012, the bathhouse and boardwalk should be fully operational.
Samantha Overton, DCR acting director of State Parks and Recreation, said the mentality behind the project is not only the severe need for a new bathhouse in the area, but is also a hope that the revised facilities will bring more people to the pond.
“This is really a key inland beach that needs to have this basic infrastructure and facilities,” she said. “I assume we’ll bring more people. If you build it, they will come.”
According to Church, there have been many improvements over the past couple of years that have made way for the $3.15 million construction.
In addition to fixing current baseball fields and redesigning the current park area, DCR has replaced every sanitary line and re-done all the utilities in the area
Although the building will ultimately be smaller than the current 6000 sq/ft bathhouse, the improvements of the project are innumerable.
Added storage space, more bathrooms, a re-done drop-off/pick up area in the parking lot, more plantings to prevent erosion on the beach, and better handicap accessibility are just a few of the improvements the construction hopes to make.
The design also includes outdoor foot rinsing stations, changing stalls, and a shaded porch that overlooks the beach.
The building will also be able to be used three out of four seasons with the limited heating of the building and a series of doors that cut off bathroom accessibility based on visitor need.
In addition to all these things, the plan will also be educational. Signage detailing the surrounding habitat and wildlife will line the boardwalk leading up to the beach.
“We’re really happy that this will be an education experience. There will be signage that indicates what you will see here as the seasons change,” said Eric Kluz, the principal for HKT Architects Inc., the company in charge of the construction of the project.
Overall, Overtone feels that the construction will help remind residents to enjoy their surroundings throughout the year.
“It’s to remind you that Massachusetts is a great place to live, and there are things in the Blue Hills and in the parkland for all seasons,” she said. “Our hope is that the Houghton Pond bathhouse will not only be something for the summer season, but will be something we can use throughout the year.”
To see the full presentation, please visit here.