Costello said it was O’Connor-Ives who offered a solution to the money problem during the conference call. She suggested DCR use money in the Salisbury Beach Preservation Trust Fund to pay for completing the action plan.
A dedicated fund to be used by DCR to maintain the beach, the Salisbury Beach Preservation Trust Fund was proposed in 2008 by former state Sen. Steve Baddour, and is underwritten by a $2 surcharge on camping and parking fees paid by the tourists who patronize Salisbury Beach State Reservation. When first introduced Baddour had estimated the surcharge could raise as much as $250,000 a year.
Costello said DCR’s response to O’Connor-Ives recommendation was that the money in the fund was already spoken for, intended to buy snow fencing and pay for the razing of the dilapidated former Sidewalk Cafe on Ocean Front South. DCR bought the property, with the blessing of Salisbury officials and beach residents, with the intent of tearing down the eyesore and building a dune in its place.
Costello said he and O’Connor-Ives suggested Lambert reconsider, and perhaps hold off on the Sidewalk Cafe project for a bit, using the trust fund’s cash for the more urgent need of restoring a storm ravaged beach and its unsafe dune system before this tourist season begins. The Trust Fund will amass more money in the coming months as visitor use the reservation, the legislators reminded Lambert.
Costello said if all goes as planned, sand harvesting could begin around April 17, and Jack Murray, Deputy Commissioner of for Operations at DCR will oversee the project himself.
If it happens, such a solution will be welcome news in town, for although Tuesday’s snowstorm wasn’t forecast to bring coastal flooding, it brought waves washing over into Salisbury Beach Center because there were no dunes left there to prevent it. The flooding required the town to defend the water and sewer lines under Broadway, Driftway and Ocean Front North and South, where the flooding took place.