Bill Fraser-Harris

The Recreation Beach Survey has been circulating on Front Porch Forum for the last two weeks and the results are in. Thanks to everyone who responded to the survey—over 225 returns. The results were presented to the Selectboard on November 26.

Everyone recognizes the gem we have in 20+ acres of prime lakefront with good swimming, eye-popping views and serene sunsets. The overwhelming consensus was to leave the beach as an area of unspoiled natural beauty. The primary drivers of visits to the beach were swimming, relaxation, time with family or friends, playground with kids, closely followed by events such as the Mozart Concerts and Beach Party.

The graphs below show intention and usage, with the more unstructured activities taking precedent over the sporting activities. The existing bathhouse facilities condition was considered fair to good, while cleanliness was considered good.

Upon instruction from the Selectboard and before spending any tax dollars, Nicole Conley, Charlotte Recreation Director and myself, Charlotte Recreation Commission chairperson interviewed four landscape architect firms. Each was very excited at the prospect of creating a master plan for the beach park and had immediate ideas, like an instructional boardwalk over the wetland, a walking trail, a playground that incorporated some of the natural landscape and woodlands and relocating the car park further back away from the prime waterfront viewshed.

The survey results and comments indicate an overall satisfaction with the beach and its present facilities and suggest that facilitating more activities may not be warranted at this time while upgrading existing facilities and allowing for more community events like Mozart Concerts would be welcomed. The beach park is perceived as a place of unstructured relaxation, picnicking, lake access/swimming with friends and family.

At the Selectboard meeting on Monday, November 26, the survey results and interpretation were presente. After some questions it was decided by the Selectboard to use Distinctive Landscaping for any design and plan drawing services going forward, with input from the survey and ongoing public engagement under the supervision of the Recreation Commission.

The survey also indicates a strong commitment to and upgrading of the playground which should proceed without delay. If there are any community members who might wish to be directly involved with this playground process, please let me know.

The next meeting of the Recreation Commission will be Dec. 4 at 6:00 p.m. Town Hall and we will present a more definitive plan to the Selectboard on Dec. 17. All are welcome. The Recreation Committee is committed to an open process of beach property management with access for all.

This graph indicates how people perceived they might use the facilities

This graph indicates present usage of facilities.