In 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.
James (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).
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 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.
Basically, 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.
According 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.
By 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.
Jaime’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.
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.
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.
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 Twitter, Linked In, Pinterest and YouTube.