A dream of former Selectman Robert Moore who always wanted a park by the town’s harbor, it took a number of years and more than $120,000 in local and federal monies to build the 1 1/2-acre park set on the picturesque west side of Route 1A, known locally as Ocean Boulevard.
Selectmen handed the project over to John Starkey, director of Seabrook’s Public Works Department and a former member of the U.S. Navy Construction Battalion, known as CBs or SeaBees. Starkey chased the federal grants, and his staff built most of the park, even handling the landscaping and yesterday’s celebratory cookout for guests.
Seabrook received its first $18,000 grant in 2006, allowing the project to get off the ground. In 2012, the federal government awarded a $62,300 grant to support the effort. Voters stepped up to the plate in March 2012, approving a $50,000 warrant question, which is the majority of the 50 percent match needed to secure the federal money. The remaining $12,000 came from sweat-equity and in-kind labor.
There have been others who helped, Selectman Aboul Khan said yesterday. A new flagpole was donated by Seabrook businessman Arleigh Green, and money for fencing came from contractors as their way of thanking the town for allowing them to use the harbor to land and move large equipment over the past few years.
Manzi gave credit to town leaders who over the years “had the vision, courage and wherewithal to see it through.”
And there’s more planned for Harborside Park. Town leaders hope to find funding to built a gazebo to hold concerts in the summer.