WINTHROP — The town is now one step closer to renovating and redeveloping Norcross Point and the adjacent Winthrop beach, after authorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund to match 50% of the $3.5 million redevelopment project.

The town was previously awarded a smaller matching grant from the conservation fund for the redevelopment, but through informal discussions, Winthrop Town Manager Jeff Kobrock learned that it was willing to offer a 50% matching grant for the entire project.

With the original $320,000 grant, the town would have needed to complete the project in phases over five to six years. This would have led to changes in the permitting process and zoning rules and caused the project to start and stop multiple times.

Town Councilor Anthony Wess, who helped lead a study on redeveloping the beach properties, said last month that by stretching the project out like this the overall cost could have increased by about $1 million.

“Every time you stop and start a project, you have to move in and out, and the mobilization costs could be somewhere around $150,000 per phase,” he said in January.

The project involves stabilization of the shorefront, demolition of the Norcross Point restroom building and boat wash station and construction of new facilities. It also includes installing metal railings for the gazebo, adding security cameras and Wi-Fi, picnic tables, bike racks, signs and a playground. The area would also be updated so it complies with Americans with Disabilities Act standards.


According to financial projections, the town would be paying a little over $100,000 each year for 20 years of the bond.

Town Council Chairperson Sarah Fuller said  the matching grant would allow the town to finish the project quicker and cheaper than the previous multi-phased plan.

Councilor Barbara Alexander cited a draft presentation from April 2021 which mentioned potentially developing new right of way access for people to walk to the beach from downtown as well as a public/private development near the property adjacent to the floating dock area.

Alexander said these two projects were potentially controversial and asked if they would be included in the work the grant is helping to fund.

Wess said that these projects may be considered in the future, but they are not part of the project at hand.

Councilor Bruce Burns said he received an email from a resident who surveyed 25 people in the community, and that none were aware of the upcoming project and what it entailed.


Fuller brought up the town’s extensive outreach efforts, including creating a dedicated section of the town website that includes detailed information about the projects and upcoming meetings, and also that the town advertised those meetings in the Community Advertiser, a publication that is mailed to Winthrop residents.

Wess added that exhaustive outreach had been done regarding the project.

“I reached out to every civic organization there is,” he said.

The council then unanimously approved moving forward with the increased grant, and Fuller thanked them for their support.

“Hopefully we’ll get more good news back from (conservation fund) and this will be a great step forward for the revitalization that’s much needed in one of our key areas in town,” said Fuller.

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