NANTUCKET CURRENT: LAND BANK PUTTING FINISHING TOUCHES ON THREE NEW PUBLIC PARKS

The Nantucket Land Bank is racing to put the finishing touches on three new parks that will be opening to the public this year, representing investments of more than $25 million. A waterfront park on Easy Street will be the first to open this month – the hope is before Memorial Day weekend – while work is nearing completion on a new nine-acre park overlooking The Creeks and a dog park at the corner of Surfside and Miacomet roads, both of which are expected to open in the fall. All three will be handicap accessible.

“These are super cool projects we’re doing,” said Land Bank executive director Eric Savetsky said. “We’re trying to get them open as fast as we can. The building boom here as made things challenging, everyone is so buys. But we’re lucky to have great contractors willing to work with us.”

On Easy Street, crews have been working daily to finish the installation of trees, landscaping and the decking for the Land Bank’s waterfront park near Steamboat Wharf. “We’re really close,” Savetsky said of the opening date. The properties were purchased in 2015 and 2017 at a cost of more than $10 million.

The extensive engineering, design and landscaping work since then, which included the renovation of the entire bulkhead system, has totaled more than $2 million, all to create a public park that can withstand the regular coastal flooding that occurs in that area. The property will include stratified soil layers to drain salt water more efficiently, heavy-timber decking that is anchored into the ground, salt-resistant plants and trees, and an irrigation system that can flush the park of salt water following a flooding event.

At the Milestone Rotary, the Land Bank’s new nine-acre property overlooking The Creeks and Nantucket Harbor that it purchased in 2019 for $9 million is also getting a facelift. Land has been cleared and a large house removed in preparation for opening the property this fall. When complete, the new park will feature a rambling circular path from the parking area that traverses a meadow, a woodland, and a managed landscape area. The site of the former house on the property, previously owned by Lucille Hays, will include benches and picnic tables, and the oldest portion of the compound – a cottage – has been retained “as an iconic feature on the landscape” where visitors will be able to sit on the porch and take in the view.

Moving farther out of town, the Land Bank’s highly-anticipated dog park at the corner of Surfside and Miacomet roads is also nearly complete. With the land cleared – keeping as many trees as possible of course – the dog park will feature two accessible paths, areas for large dogs and small dogs, along with benches, water fountains, signage and fencing.

In the case of both the dog park and the Hays property overlooking the harbor, the parks may look ready before they are actually able to open to the public.

“The challenge with both those is growing grass,” Savetsky said. “You can finish the park but you can’t have people and dogs walking around yet. We’ve been told two mowing cycles. The grass has to get big enough to mow, then it’s ready for foot traffic. It’s a real bummer. Both the dog park and the Hays property, that’s the biggest deal. They’re both big projects with a lot of work. It’s going to look nice and green but you can’t go there just yet.”

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