Taking a glance a little farther up the coast at Hampton Beach, it’s clear that public investment in public waterfronts is a sound idea. New Hampshire has spent $15 million on Hampton Beach, dramatically upscaling its public facilities and its desirability. It’s an impressive project, but we think Massachusetts can do a better job, and for less money.
A big part of the reason is simple geography.
The local seacoast is shaped somewhat like a shallow letter “C,” with Cape Ann at the southern extremity and Hampton’s Boar’s Head at the northern end. This shape offers us a uniquely long view of the coastline, and Salisbury Beach has the enviable spot — it is the only place along that 25 miles of coast with a substantial commercial zone built directly on the beach.
Anyone who has been to Capolupo’s Seaglass restaurant can plainly see this. Seaglass, which sits out over the beach and surf, has arguably the most dramatic and extensive views of our local seacoast of any commercial building from Rockport to Hampton. Add to that scene a 500-foot pier, a more attractive and user-friendly waterfront boardwalk, and Salisbury Beach immediately vaults to the front of desirability. Salisbury Beach already has the most accessible public beachfront in the region, with a public beach that is miles longer than Hampton Beach. It also has a very popular state park, far larger and more desirable than Hampton Beach’s state park. What it lacks is a vibrant, modernized and cohesive commercial center.
Our state would be making a smart investment by looking at the potential of Salisbury Beach. We’re encouraged by this week’s visit by the two secretaries, and we hope this begins to blossom.