DCR Shares Houghton's Pond Bathhouse Plan
Representatives from the DCR and HKT Architects Inc. informed the public about a $3.15 million plan to build a new bathhouse and boardwalk at the pond on Wednesday night.
The area around Houghton's Pond, one of Milton's most popular spots to cool off during the summer months, is slated to get a facelift beginning this spring and officials from the Department of Conservation and Recreation went over that plan with residents on Wednesday evening.
The public meeting at the Trailside Museum, which was attended by about 20 people, was led by Samantha Overton, DCR Acting Director of State Parks and Recreation; Peter Church, DCR Regional Director of the Division of Urban Parks South Region; and Eric Kluz of HKT Architects Inc.
The creation of a new 4,500 square-foot bathhouse will highlight the project that will be completed by the summer of 2012. The new facility will be more accessible and provide a changing area and more restrooms to the public while improving staff areas.
The new bathhouse will replace an old building that was built in the late 1960s. Since the 1990s, only a small portion of the bathhouse has been open to the public because of a weak sanitation system the shut down many of the facilities. A recently completed project that improved the sanitation line and electrical services will serve the new bathhouse.
During the summer, a multipurpose room for between 20 and 30 staffers, a first aid room, changing rooms and several bathrooms will be open. As the seasons change, access to the building will diminish.
"This building was designed so it will be available for three-season use," Kluz said.
In the off seasons the larger bathroom areas will close down, saving energy. When the winter rolls around the bathhouse will close. The welcome center will remain open all year for hikers and bikers who utilize the trails.
Outside of the bathhouse, this project will include improving pick up and drop off from the main parking lot. A five-foot-wide boardwalk will also be constructed from the lot to the bathhouse.
This boardwalk will allow for easier travel for patrons using wheelchairs. It will also include an education aspect. As the boardwalk takes park-goers along the edge of Marigold Marsh, there will be several overlooks with educational signage about the Blue Hills and the Houghton's Pond area.
This project has been allotted a $3.15 million budget from the state. It comes on the heels of two other improvement projects in the area. The sanitation improvements that cost $800,000 recently finished. The $1.1 million ball field improvements should be complete by the summer. New fields and improvements to old facilities began in the summer of 2010.
The DCR public comment period on the bathhouse project is open as of the meeting and will close on November 12. Emails with the subject: "Houghton's Pond Bathhouse" can be sent to the DCR at DCR.Updates@state.ma.us. Comments can also be submitted by calling 617-626-4974.
After the public comment period, the DCR along with the architects, will make considerations throughout the winter. An update meeting will be scheduled for February 2011.
This spring, the old building will be demolished. "We're going to have as minimal impact as possible so the beach can be open for the summer," Church said.
Work on the boardwalk is also slated for the spring, with a planned opening for the summer of 2011. The entire project will be complete by summer 2012.