Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Will We Have to Pay to Get to SoundWaters? Also, Public Access Problems on Narragansett Bay

Some Stamford officials want the city to charge an entrance fee to pedestrians at its waterfront parks, including Cove Park. The Advocate quotes Brendan Leydon, the fellow who successfully sued Greenwich to force it to open Greenwich Point, as saying it's a bad idea.

Cove Park, of course, is the home of SoundWaters, which has a small aquarium and lots of public programs. The Advocate story (which was published yesterday) doesn't address the question but I wonder -- will visitors to SoundWaters have to pay to get there?

The question of who gets access to the Sound and how much they have to pay pops up over and over again. While I was away, Cynthia Stulpin, of Clinton, Connecticut, took issue with a post I wrote about a month ago about her town’s decision to forego a study of how to increase public access in her neighborhood, and her role in it. Here's the post and her comment.

In particular, she was unhappy that I quoted her (as she was quoted in the Hartford Courant) saying that she didn’t want “these people” in her neighborhood (she said the Courant quoted her out of context).

I don’t claim that this is a balanced blog, though I do aim to be fair, so I’m linking to this story, from Rhode Island, in an effort to show that on some of these issues there is no right answer.

On Narraganasett Bay’s Nayatt Point, residents of a dead end street that was opened for public access last year are having problems with recreational fishermen:

According to an anonymous letter sent to the Barrington Times, another resident of Nayatt Point has been appalled at other disruptions along the waterfront.

"The shell-fishermen have been loud and continue to use foul language," the letter stated. "They undress, change clothes, urinate and defecate without regard for the people on shore."

A photograph included with the letter displays an apparent example of a boater in a stage of undress. Ms. Sartor said she couldn't confirm the sight of any naked fishermen, mostly because she is at work during the day. Ms. Slocum said she had not seen a similar sight, but did recall years earlier when a couple was seen "in the act" on the beach.

Now, having said that there’s no right answer to some of these issues, I’ll also say that a municipality that takes the trouble of increasing public access in a particular neighborhood also has an absolute responsibility to police the area, and it can also set reasonable limits on when the public can visit. Not many public parks are open round the clock, and public access points do not have to be either.


Blogger sandy said...

By living near a public facility you have decided to expose yourself to the public.

"Those people" didn't attend the meeting because they weren't invited.

The solution to misbehaving people is to call the police. Not closing off access.

Foul language and nudity a problem? I have a problem with that too. TV
is way to explicit these days.

7:53 PM  

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