Harwich Officials Nix Schoolhouse Parking Lot Expansion

HARWICH PORT – Town officials in Harwich are shelving an idea to add more spaces at the Schoolhouse parking lot after area residents expressed concerns.

Officials will consider other options to increase parking availability for both the short- and long-term in Harwich Port.

Several Pleasant Street residents expressed concerns over a plan to remove an area of trees to create 36 spaces to the downtown lot.

“They raised valid concerns and that other items should be looked at seriously and be considered seriously for alternatives for expanding the parking,” said Town Administrator Christopher Clark.

Other options discussed include using the former fire station on Bank Street as a satellite lot and encouraging evening visitors to Harwich Port to use the Bank Street Beach parking lot.

“Certainly people could park down there and it would be even a shorter walk to go up to the restaurants and to utilize some of the nightlife that exists in Harwich Port,” Clark said.

Clark said the town will also look into potential shuttle services from the dirt lot behind the cultural center or at Monomoy Regional High School.

A shuttle bus has been attempted before and was not very successful, according to Clark. Currently, the town of Chatham uses a valet service with a bus to shuttle people to town beaches.

“We have requested the RFP from the town of Chatham to do that,” Clark said. “There is potential that we could look at other sites that would be a little further and if there was a private sector solution.”

The town is also looking at upgrading sidewalks along Route 28 from Saquatucket Harbor to Harwich Port. The cost to the town would be $250,000 and grant funding would be sought, as the town could complete the project much cheaper than the state.

“In some ways it’s good that we do have successful businesses and a vibrancy in the business community in Harwich Port and it certainly is going to be a fine balance to promoting the development of that and the continuation of that while trying to work with the neighbors to maintain the atmosphere of why they moved to Harwich in the first place,” Clark said.

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