Harwich Selectmen: No RFP for Saquatucket Harbor Restaurant

HARWICH – Following months of debate, Harwich Selectmen have voted against leasing town property at Saquatucket Harbor to a private developer for new restaurant.

At last year’s town meeting, a snack shack at the site, with a cost of $300,000, was approved by voters, but the idea quickly turned into a larger facility, drawing the ire of town residents.

“We got a project, we put it out to contract, it couldn’t be done within the $3 million that we raised and appropriated in a town meeting,” said Selectman Don Howell,

“Everything I’m hearing tonight should have either been discussed in the last year – or 6 months from now, if you’re talking about what goes in that building.”

The proposal would have given the developer a thirty year lease on the property, with the developer responsible for all construction.

Howell explained one reason that many residents are against the idea.

“The fact that it’s a unique property, is on the harbor and that the town is ceding that to a private interest,” he said.

The final vote was 3-2 against granting the request for proposal, with selectmen Jannell Brown and Larry Ballantine opting to dissent.

Cost overruns on the development have led to a $3.6 million bid on the project, Harwich voters have only approved the spending of $3 million for the effort.

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