HAMPTON — More than 100 people attended the public meeting at Buckroe Beach Baptist Church recently to hear about the renovations options at Buckroe Beach.
Residents also had the opportunity to voice their opinions through a survey, said Alison Eubank, placemaking planner for the city’s planning commission.
The survey questions included how frequently the residents go to Buckroe Beach to what the residents’ priorities for beach renovations and repairs.
“We’re looking [to make an] improvement to the boardwalk and the seawall,” she said.
At the City Council meeting on Sept. 11, Eubank presented a couple options to improve the conditions of Buckroe Beach from raising the seawall to prevent sand accumulation on the boardwalk to extending the length of the entire boardwalk from Old Point Comfort to James T. Wilson Fishing Pier and adding modern fixtures like benches, LED light fixtures, garbage bins and ADA accessible ramps every 200 feet.
The current seawall is 2 feet and if the proposal is approved, the new height would be 5 feet.
In the PowerPoint presentation, the beach was split into three sections: Northern, which has condos and spans from Buckroe Avenue to Pilot Avenue, Buckroe Park or the middle section in front of the gazebo stage and main grassy area and the Southern section, which does not currently exist at the boardwalk.
The Planning Commission’s recommendation was to either repair or reconstruct the condo and main stage areas and extend the boardwalk in the southern section. In addition, the southern section could have an improved “streetscape concept” or paver look with on-street parking.
Another suggestion was adding the raised boardwalk to more than 5 and a half feet above ground level with a 3 foot railing, something City Council did not approve — and was not discussed in the public meeting.
The concern was blocking the view between the park and the beach.
It’s unclear how long there has been talk about revitalizing Buckroe Beach.
Eubank said the city has a lot of projects and compared it to having a lot of wishes but not always making them happen.
While Eubank has not finished going through the surveys, she has noticed a general theme of preserving the view to the beach and an overall appreciation the city is looking to revisit boardwalk improvements.
WYDaily asked Eubank if she or the city planned on having an online survey for residents who were unaware of the public meeting.
“We are not participating in an online survey,” Eubank said, adding that 500 property owners were told about the improvement and the city advertised a week or so prior to the meeting with signs on the boardwalk and through the city’s news alerts and email newsletters.
City Council has not voted to approve or reject the proposed changes to Buckroe Beach until they receive public input.
The project to reconstruct the boardwalk, seawall and streetscape would be done in five phases with construction starting in September 2020.
The proposed changes to Buckroe Beach, which include the possibility of raising the seawall, is estimated to cost $7 million.
At this time, the city has only budgeted for $6 million over three fiscal years but Eubank said there is the possibility to use park funding should the project be higher than $6 million.
Those who did not attend and would like to voice their opinions or concerns about the project can email Eubank at email@example.com.