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First phase of construction for Ripley Beach Town Park underway

RIPLEY — Plans for the makeover of Ripley Beach have begun to become a reality.

Work began recently on the first phase of construction for a Ripley Beach Town Park redesign. This segment involves resurfacing the Ripley Beach road and clearing an area for parking and a turn-around large enough to accommodate emergency equipment.

The work will also allow for better drainage to eliminate the wet conditions that are often present through the month of June, said Ripley Deputy Supervisor Michael Rowe. A rain garden will be created in the center of the turn-around into which water will run and water-loving plants will grow, he said.

After the paving and drainage work is complete, work will begin on installing two retractable aluminum stairways to the beach. These stairways will be pulled up during the winter months to prevent damage to them, Rowe said. They will also be wide enough to accommodate emergency personnel carrying a stretcher.

Future phases of the project will include building a picnic pavilion, rest room facilities, and an informational kiosk, Rowe said. Furthermore, a campground for bicyclists will be created and the pathway to the bluff will be expanded to an 8-foot wide gravel drive with a total width of 12 feet, to allow emergency vehicles to reach that point.

Also, Rowe said, the town plans to place a solar light and a motion-activated camera in the main area to deter vandalism.

Rowe said that no motor vehicles will be allowed on the beach after sunset, only bicyclists who have registered with the town will be permitted there after dark.

Rowe said he has met many bicyclists who have stayed at the beach and they are responsible campers. “These are pack-it-in, pack-it-out people,” he said. “They are basically good citizens.”

The entire project is estimated to cost $320,000. The town has received a $240,000 grant from the state as part of the Local Waterfront Revitalization Project. Ripley will provide $80,000 of the cost, which includes the value of labor and equipment by the Ripley Highway Department, town employees, and community volunteers.

The overall goals of the entire project include protecting the bluff and keeping the beach natural, creating a tranquil location, providing a picnic area, augmenting bicyclist camping and ensuring that the area is accessible to emergency personnel. “We want it to have a character that is unique to Ripley,” Rowe said.

In the spring of 2020, the town will seek volunteer labor to help install the stairways and construct other aspects of the project, Rowe said. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Rowe at 913-8713 or stop the Ripley Town Hall.

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