The Block Island Times

Land Trust offers new beach access plan

By Stephanie Turaj | Mar 20, 2013

The Land Trust has proposed a wooden walkway for its property, located near Ballard’s Inn, to provide for public beach access.

At a Land Trust meeting on Monday, March 11, members pored over design options for the pathway. Trustee Denny Heinz proposed a wooden boardwalk — the group had a 2009 design for a boardwalk, but had decided against that option because of cost.

However, trustees seemed willing to revisit this option. “I like the feel of a wood boardwalk,” said trustee Harold “Turtle” Hatfield.

Previously, the plan was to tear down a current concrete retaining wall, rebuild it in a different location, and build a walking path to the beach near Ballard’s Inn. However, after Ballard’s filed suit when the Land Trust proposed this option — Ballard’s has an easement over the land — the Land Trust began working to change its plans.

The Land Trust owns land that runs along the south side of Ballard’s, next to where the restaurant keeps its dumpsters. The project is designed to improve and redefine a clear pathway to provide public access to the beach.

Asbestos Inspection

In other matters, Land Trust Chair Barbara MacMullan reported results from an asbestos inspection at the Solviken property. The dilapidated Corn Neck Road building is to be torn down soon, and the Land Trust, in conjunction with the Block Island Conservancy, has purchased the land.

MacMullan said that the report identified asbestos in the exterior shingles and in the first floor’s interior light fixtures. MacMullan reported that there are three quotes for asbestos removal services, and all three cost around $7,500. The Land Trust is now waiting on approval from the R.I. Department of Health for the asbestos removal.

MacMullan also said the two conservation groups should start developing a plan for the property once the building is demolished, including parking options. She also said that the groups should install temporary fencing around the land until they develop a plan for it.

Land Trust Treasurer Barby Michel also reported that the group reported $41,850 in revenue from 3-percent fees on property transfers in February.

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