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Sandwich Boardwalk may be delayed; engraved planks could cost $300-$500

Jennette Barnes
Sandwich Assistant Town Engineer Sam Jensen holds one of the engraved planks from the old Sandwich Boardwalk, Feb. 17, 2022.

The reopening of the Sandwich Boardwalk may have to be pushed back a year, to the summer of 2024, according to Assistant Town Manager Heather B. Harper.

Reconstruction of the iconic footbridge across Mill Creek and the boardwalk through the salt marsh to Town Neck Beach requires state and federal permits, which are still pending.

“Those seem to be moving … appropriately through their process, but it's something we really have very little control over,” Harper said. “There are other issues that could potentially delay construction, and that includes the availability of supplies, which everyone is very familiar with.”

Meanwhile, the Board of Selectmen may soon set the price of engraved planks for the boardwalk, but some people in the community say the prices under discussion are high.

The town manager’s office has recommended the Board of Selectmen endorse a minimum price of $300 to $350 per plank.

That would cover only the cost of engraving. The prices could go up to $500 if the town wants to cover the cost of lumber, Harper said.

“So those cost points, I think, from the … the Board of Selectmen’s standpoint, put a lot of pressure on the community who may be interested in buying a plank. That may be too expensive,” she said.

The community group Friends of the Sandwich Boardwalk said on social media that if the price for engraved planks is too high, it risks dividing the community and reducing participation.

The Selectmen have been discussing how to balance covering the cost against the benefits of public engagement, Harper said.

Before construction can begin, the project needs a state waterways permit and a federal permit from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Army Corps permit, in particular, comes with an uncertain timeline, she said.

She said there is a “strong possibility” the town will delay the opening of construction bids, which is scheduled for Nov. 3.

Jennette Barnes is a reporter and producer. Named a Master Reporter by the New England Society of News Editors, she brings more than 20 years of news experience to CAI.