A lot has improved at Constitution Beach since the formation of the Metropolitan Beach Commission (MBC) was formed in 2006. At the time the beach lacked a bathhouse and concessions, the water bubblers didn’t work, there was a huge sinkhole at the southern entrance of the beach, the tennis courts needed to be replaced and residents complained that the Constitution Beach had become a haven for teen drinking.
“We’ve made a lot of strides since 2006,” said Senator Anthony Petruccelli, who was one of the original co-chairs of the commission when he was a State Representative along with Senator Jack Hart. “The issues back then have been addressed and fixed and now we are moving forward to make our beaches even better.”
Last week the MBC, now co-chaired by Representative Kathi Anne Reinstein and Senator Thomas McGee, held a public hearing at the Orient Heights Yacht Club to see what more can be done to improve Constitution Beach and other state-run beaches from Nahant to Hull. The hearing began with a tour of Eastie’s beach by the MBC followed by public testimony on the condition of the beach here.
During the hearing residents got a chance to tell MBC members what has improved over the years. Residents said that the addition of the bathhouse, new tennis courts, concessions, the fixing of the sinkhole have made the overall experience at Constitution Beach a lot better. People testified that the overall cleanliness and water quality has greatly improved and the beach gets a lot of use during summer months.
However, one item of concern is among resident still is the patrolling of the beach by State Police.
Joanne Nugent, whose property abuts the beach, has been the most vocal over the years regarding beach security. While the problems of the past have improved in regards to large groups of teens hanging out and causing troubled has gotten somewhat better the problem still remains.
“There needs to be nightly patrols between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. because those are the times that are most problematic for us as neighbors,” said Nugent. “Everything is fine during the day and it’s a wonderful beach but it’s a night that we still have problems.”
Her suggestion of more patrols was noted by Reinstein who said there is a line item in the budget specific to night patrols of state beaches by the State Police that is separate from their regular budget.
“These patrols are funded with a line item and should be done on a regular basis,” said Reinstein. “If they are not we want to know and make sure they are implemented properly.”
Other suggestions at the meeting were adding more programming to the beach here like kayaking, swimming lessons, and other water activities.
MBC member Chris Marchi said Eastie’s geographic location as an island in Boston Harbor lends itself to more water activities that can expand past just Constitution Beach.
“If you travel around East Boston there is 12 to 15 miles of shoreline and waterfront,” said Marchi. For us, for people living in East Boston its of matter of how do we get people down to the water and it would be a great thing to investigate what level of waterfront activities are needed to bring the neighborhood to the next level.”