Is A New Harbor Walk & Waterfront Park Coming To Vineyard Haven? Some Interesting Developments

Vineyard Haven Harbor May Get Walkways, New Beaches & Parks On Both The Harbor & The LagoonIn Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, even Menemsha, you can enjoy a stroll along the harbor, but the Vineyard’s largest harbor in Vineyard Haven, is relatively inaccessible to people. Will that soon change?  I’ve heard people around town talking about the Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk. Interest piqued and wanting to know more, I met with Jaime Weisman, the man working on the concept, to see what I could find out.

Architect Jamie Weisman Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk Martha's VineyardJames (Jamie) Weisman has been an architect on the Island for decades.  He’s worked on numerous homes and commercial properties, but the Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk is something very special to him (see slide show at the bottom of post for complete project presentation).

The Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk Project

For Jamie, the Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk is a project that would have a significant impact on not only the community of Vineyard Haven but on the entire Island, and all those who visit here. There is nothing more that he wants than see this project come to life.

The Use of Waterfront Land in Vineyard Haven

The Lagoon Waterfront Would Undergo Dramatic Changes

The town of Vineyard Haven has been experiencing a lot of positive changes, and there may be even more on the horizon with the addition of a harbor walk.  Jamie was hired to do a study by the Vineyard Haven Department of Public Works to assess the walking district of the town.

Computer Generated View Of Waterfront Park On The LagoonBasically, the study was done to see how pedestrian friendly the town is, and how can things be improved.  One key component discussed was how to better use Vineyard Haven’s public land along the water.

View to Packer's Along Vineyard Haven Harbor ShorelineAccording to Jaime, there are about eight miles of continuous water accessible land that is all private.  The town only has about one-thousand feet that is accessible for public use.  The Harbor Walk would add four-thousand feet of accessible land for people to use.  That’s a pretty significant increase.

With thoughts of expanding and improving the town, the Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk plan reuses the land along the waterfront from Packer’s, all along the seawall, around the bridge and continuing on the lagoon side.

Lagoon Park As It Is TodayBy the way, did you know that the space along the lagoon next to the parking lot is called Lagoon Park?  It doesn’t really seem like much of a park.  Though next to it, you can put your boat in the water by the boat ramp, but there isn’t even parking for non-boaters.

Some Of The Harbor Walk Details

Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk Would Include A New Fishing Pier By The BridgeJaime’s plan is very thorough and has a lot of detail.  On the seawall side of the plan, the walkway is stamped concrete (similar to the sidewalks in town), there is a fishing pier, steps that lead to the water, a dinghy dock, additional moorings for boats, a compass rose detail, and nautical inspired sculpture.

Looping around under the bridge to the lagoon, there will be a state managed park where the house under the bridge used to be. The State has already designed it and Jamie is working with the design.

A big bonus to this — there will be public bathrooms and accessibility to the water.  You’ll be able to continue walking along the lagoon on a wooden walkway.

Past the parking lot in the plans, there’s a covered pavillion,  an amphitheater, and a large stretch of beach for public access.  This could be a really nice spot to take little ones, since the lagoon is much calmer than Eastville Beach, and going to State Beach all the time gets a little boring.

Seriously, could you imagine all of this open, people friendly, accessible space along the water in Vineyard Haven?  Also, there would be a lot more access to the Island for boats — additional moorings, space for dinghies to be tied up, etc., making the harbor even more inviting for boaters.  With such a maritime-rich history, this sounds like a great thing for Vineyard Haven.

Existing Beaches & Lagoon Water Access Would Be Greatly Expanded

A project like this probably has a pretty significant price tag.  With the park being state funded already, Jaime is confident that there is significant funding available from a number of different resources, such as harbor management, CPA funds, additional state funds, the Department of Fisheries and even private funding for the project.

If that’s true, then a harbor walk could be a viable project.  One that would definitely make Vineyard Haven more pedestrian friendly and have even more to offer Islanders and visitors.

This a complex project, and I have definitely simplified things for this post. However, I can tell you that I really like the concept.  I am a big fan of having access to the water, one of the main reasons I live on Martha’s Vineyard.  A Harbor Walk would be a wonderful addition to Vineyard Haven.

Imagine how nice it could look when coming to the Vineyard Haven harbor?  I know I’d love to walk the loop with my kids, and if we wanted to, we could take a quick dip in the water or throw a line in at the fishing pier.  There is so much possibility with such a project.

Next Step For Harbor Walk

Is it something that is going to happen?  No one knows just yet. The plan is being brought to the town on April 9, 2013, at a Special Town Meeting.  There it will be decided if it’s going to be part of the town’s master plan.

I imagine there are still going to be modifications to it if the concept is favored.  If you want to learn more about it or ask questions, Jaime will be making a full presentation that night or contact him before then.

This is a complex project and it is something that would have a profound impact on downtown Vineyard Haven and the whole Island.  Below, you’ll find the plan for the Harbor Walk – take a look and see what you think.

Mark your calendars for Vineyard Haven’s Sepcial Town Meeting and you can learn more about the Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk on Facebook. Also, I’d love to know you’re thoughts about the project.  Please don’t forget to  “Like” us on Facebook, on follow us on TwitterLinked InPinterest and YouTube.

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5 thoughts on “Is A New Harbor Walk & Waterfront Park Coming To Vineyard Haven? Some Interesting Developments”

  1. Vineyard Haven has the opportunity to up-cycle what can arguably be considered our most valuable asset, the waterfront. It was there all the time. The benefits to the town and the island are clear. The discussion should not be “if” but rather, when can we start? Please take a moment to visit the fb page, Vineyard Haven Harbor Walk and show your support for this important project.

    1. Scott, As you know Jamie Weisman died unexpectedly on March 1, 2015. I think we should all start a movement to make sure that this becomes a reality.

      What a wonderful way to honor Jamie’s memory by making this project come true.

      Let’s form a committee asap. Time is op the essence as the bridge is being worked on we can accomplish this goal too. Kristin

  2. my father died nearly one year ago in my home in Philadelphia. he was a passionate architect and visionary who loved and lived on Martha’s Vineyard. he integrated structures in nature that made living better. it would mean so much to me and my family to see his vision become a reality. truly hoping this project comes to fruition!

    1. Elizabeth,
      We are so sorry about the loss of your father. I too hope this dream becomes a reality.

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