August 10, 2023
Rotunda Project Next Steps
By Gregory T. Federspiel
Efforts to develop a path forward for the reconstruction of the support structures for the pier and Rotunda at Tuck’s Point continue. Two public presentations have taken place regarding the options and a third forum is planned for September 14th. The Select Board aims to make a decision as to which option to advance at their regular meeting on September 18.
At the September 14th forum, slated for 7 PM here at Town Hall (and via Zoom), a series of visual simulations will be presented. The robust modeling software allows for multiple perspectives and at varying stages of the tide cycle. The three dimensional imagery should allow residents to fully comprehend what the different options would look like.
As a reminder, four options have been developed:
Tuck's Point Rotunda Options
Rough Cost Estimate
1. Replace in existing footprint
2. Replace with 38' extension
3. Relocate landward w/viewing deck
4. Replace in existing footprint in 2 Phases
$5.8 million (both phases)
Most of the feedback to date has favored Option 1 – raising the existing pier and Rotunda in its current location. From a permitting perspective, this is the easiest option. So much so that Option 2, which contemplated extending the pier further out over the water, is no longer a serious contender. The uncertainty and time delays in securing the necessary permits from the state and federal agencies discourage any further pursuit of Option 2.
Option 3 has its advocates given the greater protection from storms it affords. Placing the Rotunda on the knoll just to the north of the pier’s start would provide added protection from storm surges and destructive wave action. A viewing deck at the present location of the Rotunda would be built. However, no longer having the Rotunda over the water is too drastic a change in the eyes of many.
Option 4 was developed as an alternative to Option 1. Instead of immediately raising the pier and Rotunda up about 5 feet higher than it is currently, Option 4 proposes to do raise the structures up by 3 feet in Phase 1 and then, some 25 years out, raise it up another 2 feet. While this has the advantage of not having the pier and Rotunda up quite as high (an aesthetic plus), it means that the structures remain more vulnerable to the larger storms that could occur between now and when Phase 2 is completed. It also is the most expensive option.
The goal is to gain additional input from residents at the September 14th Public Forum to help inform the Select Board’s decision on which option to advance. The Board will make this decision at their September 18th meeting. Next the engineers will get to work on the final design and permitting of the chosen option. This will take us through the Spring of 2024 at which time the Town can apply for grants that, with any luck, will pay for most of the costs. Depending on how successful we are with these grants, voters may be asked to approve funds as well. Final permitting and bidding could take place over the summer with construction slated to begin in the late fall and through the early winter of 2025. Under this (optimistic!) schedule, the new and improved Rotunda will be ready for the 2025 season and for decades to come. Please share your thoughts on which of the options you prefer either at the September 14th forum or by sending along an email.