Dune Renourishment Project to Begin on Salisbury Beach

The state legislative delegation and local stakeholders have announced the approval and commencement of a dune renourishment project on Salisbury Beach.

Following a significant storm this past February and several instances of dune erosion and storm surges in Salisbury, funding has been secured and allocated for the purchase of sand and permits have been approved for dune renourishment on Salisbury Beach. The approval of the project comes on the heels of months of advocacy from the state delegation and local stakeholders.

The project will consist of the placement of sand along numerous dunes in the North End Boulevard area of the beach, aimed at improving along public ways and providing residents with protections for their properties.

“I am truly grateful we have been able to get this project, which has been a long time coming, approved for the people of Salisbury, so many of whom were at risk of losing their homes due to sand dune erosion,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “This project never would have been possible without the tireless efforts and advocacy from Salisbury residents, including Town Manager Neil Harrington, Conservation Agent Adriane Marchand and the incredible members of Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change and the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association.”

“Nourishing the dune system on Salisbury Beach is a proven method of responding to the type of erosion danger that now threatens homes, utilities, coastal resources, and public safety,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Fortunately, the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change and the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association developed an initiative to join homeowners together with state and local government to get the job done, and remained focused on that initiative. That focus, in turn, gave our legislative delegation, the town of Salisbury, the Baker-Polito Administration and the Merrimack River Beach Alliance a clearly defined project, and the opportunity for collaboration. Through that partnership, and perseverance to overcome numerous obstacles, a significant amount of sand will soon be on the beach and making a difference, and proving once again the value and effectiveness of working together to confront a major problem. Everyone involved in this effort should be commended, and I have been particularly pleased to work with Senator DiZoglio and Representatives Kelcourse and Mirra to achieve this worthy objective.”

“Dune erosion and storm surges have been damaging Salisbury Beach for quite some time,” said State Representative James M. Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). “I am pleased the Baker-Polito Administration has committed to the purchase of sand to be placed on the beach, which will protect the storm battered dunes and prepare for the beach season ahead. This achievement is made possible thanks to the tireless efforts of the legislative delegation – Senator DiZoglio, Senator Tarr, and Representative Mirra – along with Town Manager Harrington, Conservation Agent Marchand and the passionate citizens and members of the Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change and the Salisbury Beach Resiliency Task Force. This project will bring the community one step closer to maintaining our beloved shoreline, and we are excited to begin this very anticipated work.”

“Although Salisbury is not in my district, I couldn’t turn a blind eye to this problem, and my office was happy to lend whatever help we could during this process,” said State Representative Lenny Mirra (R-Georgetown). “It truly took all hands on deck. We worked with a great group of hardworking, dedicated and committed people, and all that hard work paid off.”

“This project is the culmination of months of hard work and perseverance of many people,” said Tom Saab, president of Salisbury Beach Citizens for Change. “We started this process just days after the February storm and it took us four months to work through the challenging permitting and funding process. I would like to thank Senators DiZoglio and Tarr, Representatives Kelcourse and Mirra, Town Manager Harrington and Conservation Agent Marchand for all of their help and guidance throughout the project. I’m just glad for the residents and our summer visitors that our team was able to prevail.”

“The approval of this project is great news for Salisbury Beach and our entire community.” said Bill Greilich, president of the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association. “It took a monumental team effort led by our legislative delegation and town officials to get it accomplished. They worked tirelessly to secure state funding and to bring the necessary state agencies to the table to ensure that all regulatory requirements were satisfied.”

DiZoglio Secures State Funds for Lake Gardner Beach Renovations

Among the local funds secured by State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) in the Fiscal Year 2022 Senate Budget is $100,000 toward renovations at Lake Gardner Beach in the City of Amesbury.

Recently, local stakeholders have been working to address a variety of issues at Lake Gardner. The City will be hiring a Beach Director this season to ensure a consistent presence at the beach and the local Department of Public Works has been making improvements to the bathrooms there. They are also considering a potential tenant, such as a coffee shop or kayak rental company, to use the small commercial space in the building.

However, the City needs improvement of the parking area and in particular access to the beach and surrounding park in order to ensure compliance with ADA requirements.

“There has been a significant increase in use at all of the City’s recreational areas during the pandemic,” said DiZoglio. “The urban beach and its trails play an important role in keeping the community healthy, mentally and physically and these funds will go a long way to ensuring they are accessible to all residents and visitors alike.”

“Amesbury’s open spaces are an integral part of our identity, and Lake Gardner is one of our most important natural assets,” said Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove. “This funding from the state would allow us to make necessary improvements for accessibility and overall access for our residents. We are grateful to Senator DiZoglio for her continued advocacy for Amesbury and look forward to working with her and Representative Kelcourse to get this into the final FY 2022 budget and bring the funds to Amesbury.”

“As Amesbury’s District 4 City Council representative, ensuring the ongoing improvement of Lake Gardner Beach has been a priority of mine for quite some time,” said Amesbury City Council Vice President Nicholas Wheeler. “My thanks to Senator DiZoglio, Mayor Gove and their respective teams for recognizing the need for continued investment, and for helping to secure these much-needed funds for our community beach. It’s my hope that these funds can help us restore this treasured public facility for the continued enjoyment of future generations.”

DiZoglio Calls for Senate Oversight Hearing into Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, Pearlstein Report

On the heels of the Boston Globe Spotlight Team’s scathing report on the behind-the-scenes roles of Governor Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders in the tragedy at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) is calling for a Senate oversight hearing, with sworn testimony from the Governor and his Administration, utilizing the full subpoena and record review powers within the Legislature’s purview, into the layers of potential wrongdoing raised in the Spotlight investigation.

In a June 1 letter to Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), DiZoglio raised several questions around the “Pearlstein Report,” the investigation commissioned by the Governor, spearheaded by attorney Mark W. Pearlstein, and released last summer that was critical of the home’s then-superintendent, Bennett Walsh, for mishandling the outbreak yet placed no responsibility upon the Governor or his Administration for the tragedy at Holyoke.

Among her questions, DiZoglio raised how Walsh, someone with no health care background, was hired to make life and death decisions for a vulnerable population during a global pandemic. The Senator questioned why former Veterans Services Secretary Francisco Urena was forced to resign by the Administration when he had no statutory oversight of the management and operations at Holyoke and also raised concerns around Governor Baker’s claim that the first time he met Walsh was during his swearing-in to the superintendent position – a claim refuted in the Spotlight report, which revealed Baker was in fact greatly involved in his hiring and even interviewed him.

“As we took time to remember and honor those brave soldiers who gave their lives for our nation this Memorial Day, I was filled with an even greater sense of urgency and responsibility to find out what truly happened at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home in order to prevent it from ever happening again,” said DiZoglio. “As elected leaders, we need to do more to protect the most vulnerable veterans in our care. Now is the time to get answers to some of the questions raised by the recent Boston Globe Spotlight series which exposed not only serious flaws in the management and oversight of the entirely state-funded Holyoke Soldiers Home, but also begged the question of how to legislatively prevent similar disasters from ever happening again.” 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, 77 residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke died of the virus – the deadliest outbreak at a long-term care facility in the United States during the course of the pandemic. In late March, there had been 230 residents at the home. By the end of April, only about 100 remained.