Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cedar Lake Boat Ramp

The poll that has been running in the margin over the past week asked if a new boat ramp should be built on Cedar Lake. The lake, a public water body, has only two options for putting a boat in the water. The first is the town boat ramp located on the south end of the lake west of the dam. Access to the ramp is difficult, and once there, requires a great deal of precision driving to back a trailer into the water. There is not an actual ramp, but rather a rocky slope into the water. Only one or two vehicles can park at the site, and that takes up all the space for others to place a boat in or take one out. It's not a good situation.

The other option is the "ramp" beside the Oxhead Tavern. Owned by the Host Hotel, the ramp is open to those that live on the lake. The gate is locked, and one must have it opened in order to use it. It is a far safer, and easier place to put a boat in the water. The problem is, it is a private ramp, and it is only for residents of the lake.

Since the lake is a public body of water, should there be a safe, and functional boat ramp for people to use? 50% of respondents to the poll answered no. Keep it as it is in order to lessen the number of boats on the water. 50% of the others voted for building a new ramp, and having a sticker system for vehicles in order to use the ramp. A fee would be charged, presumably less for town residents, more for others. The money would help to pay for the ramp, and its maintenance. The results of this poll was a rare 50/50 split.

The Commonwealth has a boat ramp program. In fact, one of their ramps is right here in town on the south end of Big Alum Pond. The town maintains the ramp.

Either the municipality, or the Commonwealth can put in a public boat ramp. Each has their benefits. For more information about the state program, go to the Massachusetts Office of Fishing and Boating.

In the end, a decent, safe, and public ramp for boaters would be ideal. Keeping the number of boats on the lake down, and obtaining funding for the project would be something to consider when deciding whether to go with a local fix, or having the state pay for it. If the town decided to use the Commonwealth to build a new ramp, a fee could be charged for boaters, but since the lake is public, and the state is involved, the rate would have to be the same for residents of Sturbridge, and those coming from elsewhere. If the town decided to rebuild the ramp, then they could charge what they wanted to. More for out-of-towners, less for residents.

Either way, it is something that should be looked into. It is only a matter of time before a boater is hurt, or damages their equipment at the ramp. Since the ramp is in poor condition, and the town is aware of it, they could very easily be sued successfully.

1 comment:

  1. If the Environmental Bond bill is passed by close of session in July 2008, environmental investments can include the following:
    *Recreational Facilities Restoration - which includes skating rinks, swimming pools, basketball courts, playgrounds, beaches, golf courses, forests, parks, harbor islands - $220 million
    *City parks and playgrounds through Urban Self-help - $55 million
    *New "Signature Parks" in underserved urban areas - $25 million
    *DCR parkways & boulevards repair & improvement - $75 million
    *DCR vehicle bridges repair & improvement - $250 million
    *Mass Historical Commission preservation grants - $10 million

    *State & Municipal Dam rehabilitation/removal - $31.5 million
    *Protection & rehabilitation of lakes and ponds - $5 million
    *Fishing & boating access facilities - $6.5 million

    Write your State Reps, Senators & Congressman, tell them to support funding the entire Environmental Bond Bill.

    Sturbridge needs a full time, paid Economic Development Director whose job description includes writing grants, so this town can acquire these funds!!


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