For years, visitors to Harwich have scratched their heads over why one of the most picturesque locations on the Cape is obscured by a vacant lot and derelict building on 2.2 acres of land. A solution may be at hand.
The Saquatucket Harbor Redevelopment Committee will present its recommendations to Harwich town selectmen May 11th. Those recommendations include a harbor side restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch, a newly constructed harbormaster's building, a ferry ticket office on the south side of Rt. 28 versus the north side that exists now, and expanded parking for vehicles.
In addition, the committee will petition that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation extend a handicapped-accessible sidewalk connecting the business district of Harwich Port with the improved harbor amenities. The busy and narrow stretch of Rt. 28 is a treacherous section of road where automobiles, bicycles and pedestrians share space. Although dangerous, visitors continue to traverse it because it is a natural destination for those who have walked the small business district but wish to continue to explore.
Improvements to Rt. 28 and the harbor are years away as various regulatory hurdles are addressed. The town does not even yet own the land in question. Transfer of the Downey property, as it is known, has been in limbo for years as the Mobil Exxon corporation considers cleanup of a major gas spill at the abandoned service station on the site years ago. The sale of the land to the town is expected to occur within a few weeks, according to Harbormaster John Rendon.