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05/17/2012

Fort Williams Park 2011 Master Plan update (37 MB)

Council adopts 2011 Master Plan update for Fort Williams Park


The 2011 update to the Fort Williams Park Master Plan was unanimously approved by the Town Council on May 14, 2012.

Regular update of the plan that guides maintenance and development of Fort Williams Park is required by the town's comprehensive plan; and rules for updating are outlined in the zoning ordinance.

"I think that this has been an incredible effort on the part of volunteers throughout this community right up through to the Planning Board and staff," said Town Councilor Jim Walsh, liaison to the Fort Williams Advisory Commission.

The 94-page document is nearly two years in the making, starting with recommendations from the town manager in 2010; public input through surveys, public forums and outreach to interested parties; review and recommendation by the Fort Williams Advisory Commission and by the Planning Board; and ultimately approval by the Town council.

"Again, (Fort Williams) is clearly a tremendous asset to the community and this is just another step in protecting that," Walsh told the council. Council Chair Sara Lennon also thanked the staff volunteer groups who contributed, as well as professional consultant Mitchell & Associates.

The plan presents 88 recommendations for park improvements, mindful of the original 1976 commitment to preserve and enhance the "irreplaceable" scenic, natural and historical qualities of Fort Williams Park.

The recommendations are organized by location and category. The top 10 priorities for available funding are listed, accompanied by concept drawings and preliminary cost estimates.

Adoption of the master plan update fulfills one of the council's goals for 2012. It is the third master plan update for the park and amends the last update completed in 2003.

Most of the priorities in the 2011 update address public safety and vehicular and pedestrian circulation, as well as potential for generating revenue to help support the park:

  1. Expand Ship Cove parking area and incorporate turn-around at the end.
  2. Upgrade group picnic area slab at Ship Cove, including potential use of a canopy structure.
  3. Review the feasibility of a group reception area located at the westerly end of the overflow parking area above the Parade Grounds.
  4. Evaluate Cliff Walk safety along top of slope, identify safety improvements and or modifications to path location.
  5. Improve vehicular and pedestrian accessibility at the intersection of the main access road (Ocean Road) and the road (Wheatley Road) leading to the grass overflow parking area.
  6. Review and repair Central Power Station (along the entrance road) to avoid structural and water damage. Remove vegetation from lower roof and evaluate use of bituminous sealant.
  7. Review the feasibility of improving the intersection of the main entrance road and Ship Cove parking lot; and widen sidewalk to six feet with a new curb along the northerly side of the main access road (Ocean Road) from Ship Cove parking lot to the pull-off. Repair stone wall along the sidewalk as required.
  8. Reconfigure circulation and parking areas in the vicinity of the maintenance buildings to improve circulation, provide usable parking and maintain access to maintenance facilities.
  9. Investigate potential for a second picnic shelter to be located west of Merriam Road in close proximity to the multi-purpose field and central parking area.
  10. Reconfigure picnic shelter parking lot to provide more efficient use of space.