A plan is now coming together to replace the current Second Beach facility with a new pavilion designed to better serve beach patrons as well as help bolster Middletown’s tourism economy.
The Middletown Town Council on Monday night authorized Town Administrator Shawn Brown to proceed with hiring RKG Associates to gather public input and develop the business plan for the new facility. Brown recommended that the town award the $25,000 contract to RKG, based on the firm’s current working knowledge of Middletown’s business base and tourism economy from working on the recent Navy surplus conveyance project and the ongoing West Side development project.
The Town Council previously authorized the expenditure as part of the recent Fiscal Year 2012 budget process, to be allocated from Parks & Recreation Department funds since that department manages the town beaches.
“Basically the facility we have right now does not serve out patrons adequately,” Brown said at Monday night’s council meeting.
Thousands of beach goers visit Second Beach on a daily basis throughout the summer.
Beach Commission member Bill Seiple, also a former beach manager, described to the council members the numerous limitations imposed by the current facility, mainly inadequate bathrooms, changing rooms and concessions to handle such large crowds. For the employees at Second Beach, 36 male and female lifeguards and other staff share a handful of lockers and one shower, he said.
Previous discussions among town officials have also questioned whether a new facility could accommodate year-round events and bring in extra beach revenue for Middletown.
Councillor Christopher Semonelli echoed Brown's concerns that the business plan development process should closely involve town residents and the business community through public workshops and other means of collecting input.
Seiple also noted that in moving forward, the Beach Commission will advocate for a design plan that would help protect the natural beauty and character of Second Beach.
Read more about the project here.