Report cites improvements at Dot’s beaches, adds that much needs to be done at Tenean

A lone sunbather lounged on Tenean Beach last month. Photo by Lee Toma

The Metropolitan Beaches Commission has released “Waves of Change,” its report on the Boston Harbor region’s 15 public beaches in Nahant, Lynn, Revere, Winthrop, East Boston, South Boston, Dorchester, Quincy, and Hull that are owned by the Commonwealth and managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). Nearly 1,000 people took part in the commission’s hearings and helped to shape the findings and recommendations contained in the report.

Two of Dorchester’s beaches, Savin Hill and Malibu, were given good grades in the review. “They are readily accessible, well used, and well maintained, said Metropolitan Beaches Commissioner Paul Nutting, a Dorchester resident. As to Tenean, much is left to be done to raise the beach to any sense of excellence.

“Tenean suffers from poor connections, storm damage, and the lack of an organized constituency,” said Nutting, adding that “strengthening connections to the neighborhood and the Neponset River Greenway and trails, and re-engineering the site with dunes to make it more resilient and natural would mitigate frequent flooding and transform it into an asset for Dorchester and the city.”

The report cited a number of issues, the large and the small, at the beaches: Water quality remains a problem at Tenean and Malibu; wooden boardwalks are in need of repair; trash collection could be better, as could the erasure of graffiti on shade shelters and other locations; and the lack of concessions and/or food trucks keeps people away.

The report also compiled a listing of capital improvements that would help ensure beach quality, among them a new bathhouse at Savin Hill and additional Harbor Walk and Trail signage.

“South Boston and Dorchester’s beaches are important assets and resources for all our residents,” said state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, who represents the two communities. “We need to take a hard look at how our public resources are distributed and to establish public-private partnerships that will sustain and build on the progress that has been made.”

Copies of the Commission’s and the hearing minutes, public comments, the budget analysis and other technical reports and appendices on which the report is based are available online at savetheharbor.org/MBC2014.

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