Buzzards Bay Coalition seeks community preservation funds for Wickets Island pier renovations

Jul 29, 2021

The Buzzards Bay Coalition is ready for its next phase of Wickets Island renovations. This time around, the group hopes to begin the restoration of the stone pier, which is about 100 years old and beginning to fail. 

Kat Garofoli of the Buzzards Bay Coalition came before the Community Preservation Committee on July 28 to ask for $150,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to help cover the cost of the work. 

Garofoli explained that the pier is unsafe in its current state.

“The end of the stone pier — the point stones starting to fall out of place,” she said. “It’s very hazardous. It’s just not something that’s safe for anybody to land on, let alone walk on.”

She described the stone pier repairs as the coalition’s “third and final phase of restoration” planned for the 4.6-acre island. The coalition owns Wickets Island and already incorporates the island into its free and paid public programs. 

“The coalition wants to renovate it and restore it to maintain as much of the stone structure as possible and then also make it easier for the public to land on,” Garofoli said. 

She said the existing stones would be repointed and a top deck would be added to make the pier more stable for people to walk on. Additionally, she said the coalition plans to construct a gangplank and a floating dock to make it easier for boats to tie up to the end of the pier. 

Garofoli said a restored pier would make the island more accessible to those with all types of watercraft. A floating dock at the end of the pier would make it easier for Garofoli and her staff members to transport land management equipment to the island and for emergency personnel such as fire or EMS to access the island, she said. 

“As an added bonus, it will also really enhance our ability to provide exploration programs when we have younger children who aren’t necessarily able to kayak,” Garofoli said. “We can transport them over there using our motorboats and get them over to the island safely.”

The $150,000 would cover about 32 percent of the total cost of renovations to the stone pier. 

Garofoli said that the company the coalition has contracted to complete the pier restoration can start work in September with the goal of completing the work in early November. 

The committee unanimously voted to approve the coalition’s request.

The $150,000 request from the Buzzards Bay Coalition will now head to the Select Board for approval. If the Select Board approves the request, the issue will be put before voters at Town Meeting.