Saquatucket Harbor East Side Lot Gets Face Lift

HARWICH - (04/05/06) Long awaited improvements are being made to the Saquatucket Harbor east side parking lot. A funding commitment from the State Access Board will be partially utilized in the parking lot re-surfacing project. An asphalt grinding machine showed up in the parking lot Monday morning, and shortly after noon the area was reduced to sand. Lawrence Lynch Corp. has been awarded the contract to place drainage basins and lay a new asphalt surface on the lot. The town had hoped to have the work completed a year ago, but there was confusion between the state and town as to who would award the contract. The project was also to include construction of a new boat ramp. Harbormaster Thomas Leach said the boat ramp portion of the project will be held off until after the tuna season ends in the fall. Funding for the project was approved in the commonwealth’s supplemental budget in 2004.

“Thank God for Shirley Gomes,” Leach said of the Republican state representative from Harwich who secured $430,000 for the projects. For several years the town has been planning to both resurface the parking lots and make improvements to the boat ramp, which the harbormaster said has been snagging boats and trailers because it has a 15-to 23-degree break along the lower portion of the ramp. Several years ago the town made a deal with the State Access Board to resurface the west side parking lot and expand the facility by 20 spaces. Drainage basins were also installed. The agreement was the town would do the west side lot and the state would do the east side, which caters to boat trailers. The town resurfacing cost $90,000 and was done in 2002. But the east lot project was stalled at the state level. When Leach learned the town of Wellfleet was getting $400,000 in the supplemental budget to expand its boat ramp operations, he contacted Gomes, who also filed a supplemental request for the town of Harwich. That money was approved and will cover resurfacing and the new boat ramp. “They’ve been getting ready for days,” Leach said of preparation for a new parking lot surface. “But the asphalt machine came in today and didn’t waste any time tearing it up.”

The project calls for expanding the amount of asphalt to the north and east sides of the lot, Leach said. He said the conservation commission approved the expanded lot. While there will be more asphalt it will not provide for any additional parking spaces on that side, he said. “It will provide more square footage to maneuver these big trailers around,” Leach said of the parking configuration for vehicles and trailers. The surface of the lot was “totally spent,” Leach said. The new surface will be a big improvement and the vaulted drainage basins will better serve to disperse rain water instead of puddling or running into the harbor.

The drainage system, Leach said, poses problems for vessel owners who used to pull their boats and clean the bottom paint off in the parking lot. He said they have to rethink that practice because the paint chips will have to be controlled. Leach said the contract calls for resurfacing to be completed by May 15, but based on the quickness of the operation, he expected the work would be done before then. The work does pose problems with accessing the boat ramp and for vessels with truck fueling permits. He recommended arrangements be made to fuel boats at Wychmere Harbor during this period. “Seems like a long time coming, but that’s OK,” Leach said. “We’ll have a brand spanking new lot for the 2006 boating season.”
(4/5/06 William Galvin)

On the mend

Some people would have given up. Not Larry Chandler.
    His life changed in a flash on a rainy night last October, when he was struck by a hit-and-run driver on Route 28 while bicycling home. Chandler, a popular town employee who works in the harbormaster’s department, suffered three broken vertebrae, a broken jaw, broken cheek bone, broken hand, two broken hips, a broken pelvis, as well as internal injuries.
    Chandler returned to Harwich about five weeks ago after three and a half months in a Boston hospital, and six weeks at a rehab center in Sandwich. Everyday, he practices using a walker. He sits on the edge of his bed and picks up his shoes with a special long-handled grip. He straps on his back brace, and his Velcro shoes, and lifts himself up.
    What began as a fight to survive has now advanced to daily struggle to get stronger, and to one day return to the work he loves. According to his sister, Pamela Marsh, the key to his recovery has been his "amazing attitude."
    That determination and upbeat outlook is inspiring people all around him. He received a standing ovation at Dino’s, the Harwich Port coffee shop that used to be his regular breakfast place, when he stopped by recently for a visit. He said he’s looking forward to being able to go there regularly again.
    "I’m recovering quite well, according to most people," he told The Cape Codder earlier this week. Though he admitted it "seems like a long time to me."
    Asked how he feels, he replied, "in general, for the most part, good." He said he feels some pain, but that it’s annoying more than anything else. He’s lost a lot of weight, and his beard, which was shaved while he was in the hospital, has grown back, though the color is whiter than it used to be.
    Chandler doesn’t remember the accident, and can’t recall much from his three and a half month stay at the hospital. He has no recollection at all of any injuries from the chest up.
    Chandler’s happy demeanor faltered only once during the interview. When asked what he misses most since his accident, he choked back tears, and said he misses his co-workers. He also misses the spring ritual of cleaning up the Herring River, a job he used to do with the help of AmeriCorps volunteers.
    Marsh said her brother is considering a medical retirement. "I think I would enjoy being retired, or semi-retired," he said, but he said he hopes he can work part time for the harbormaster.
    He won’t be able to lift heavy buoys anymore, and office work isn’t for him, but he thinks he could still contribute, perhaps in the summers.
    To keep busy, Chandler works on plastic models of cars. He also likes to watch Star Trek re-runs and the country music channel, and is learning to use a computer. He’s also doing marlinspike ropework on his walker.
    For the time being, Chandler is in a temporary apartment in the West Harwich building where he used to live while his old apartment is renovated to suit his needs.
    In the room there’s a trunk filled with hundreds of letters, get well cards and e-mails. Chandler has a message for all the people who have wished him well: "I’m getting better all the time," he said, "and before long I’ll be back."

Larry Chandler is finally back in Harwich after an accident kept him hospitalized for more than three months. He’s in temporary accommodations while his West Harwich apartment is renovated. (Staff photo by Merrily Lunsford)

By Douglas Karlson/
Wednesday, March 29, 2006