Parking and public restrooms have been a perennial thorn for downtown retailers and restaurants who say addressing these challenges will go a long way to support their businesses. Parking has been an issue for decades, specifically with the town trying—unsuccessfully—to create a path from public parking behind Town Hall to Beach Street. But starting a year ago, it was the First Parish Church that offered a glimmer of hope, by saying it was open to a public walkway passing over land behind its building on Chapel Street.
John Round (not yet a Selectman, but serving on the church’s board) took the lead for the church, and Eli Boling took the lead for the town. Then, at a meeting with downtown businesses, Jim Brown stepped up and offered the back of the Cape Ann Savings Bank building on Beach Street as a connector. Seven months later, the path is under construction and it’s beautiful, running under a chestnut tree and along the Magic Year’s playground.
Also, along the path, the DPW is installing temporary public restrooms that, once complete, will be open for use through October. Another temporary facility will be in the Harbor’s Point parking lot.