The Bristol Parks and Recreation Department has won a $300,000 grant for the replacement of the pavilion at Pemaquid Beach Park. With the grant and another $330,000 already in hand, the department plans to start construction in September.
Bristol residents authorized the town to apply for the grant from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund during a special town meeting Oct. 30, 2018.
The department had received a $300,000 donation toward the project in June 2018 and has $30,000 set aside in capital reserves, bringing the total funds for the project to $630,000.
“We have applied for other funding as well, but at least we now know we can move forward with the project,” Parks Director Lara Sargent said.
The vote at the special town meeting authorized the replacement of the current pavilion without the use of property taxes or surplus funds. It also gave the parks department permission to apply for, receive, and spend the grant money on the project, as well as to use the anonymous $300,000 donation.
The Arrowsic firm Theodore + Theodore, Architecture & Design is designing the new pavilion. The current pavilion dates to the 1960s and is becoming more and more expensive to maintain, according to the parks department.
The current design includes three separate buildings along a terrace, with benches, showers to wash off sand, and a boardwalk leading to the beach.
The department “is very excited to make the facility (Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant) so the beach is accessible to everyone,” Sargent said.
The pavilion will include amenities similar to those in the current pavilion, with bathrooms, a snack bar, a nature center, a community room, and an office.
The department plans to unveil a final design at the annual town meeting March 19.
“Our plan is to start construction in September and have it ready for the season opening in June 2020,” Sargent said. “The commissioners have worked really hard to get to this point, with many meetings regarding the design, estimates, grant applications, etc., and their dedication has certainly paid off.”
The Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission – Chair Clyde Pendleton, Sandra Lane, and Laurie Mahan – celebrated the grant in a statement.
The grant “will allow us to bring a new and modern building to beach park,” the commissioners said. “We are planning to break ground as soon as the 2019 season ends in September.
Without Sargent, “this wouldn’t have been possible,” the commissioners said. “Her knowledge of grant writing has allowed us to do things we wouldn’t (have) had the funds to do. We cannot express our appreciation of her hard work.”