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Clean Short Beach Before Charging More

Resident says she "would be embarrassed to bring a friend from the surrounding towns to visit our beach."

Editor's note: The following letter to the editor was submitted by Stratford resident Tara Wexler.

I had the opportunity to review the Short Beach Commission minutes in which there was a motion by Maurice McCarthy to increase the fee for out-of-town visitors to use our beach to $15 as in the surrounding towns. 

I am all for increasing revenue for the Town that is not at the expense of us taxpayers, but perhaps Mr. McCarthy needs to take a look at the quality of beaches in the surrounding towns. They are resort-like compared to Stratford.   

This year is the worst I have ever seen the beaches look. I go to the beach a few times a week and it has only gotten slightly better since May. There is still trash everywhere, the facilities are in disarray, and the skate park and playground are a wreck. 

For example: last week I was there with a few friends and their kids. Our kids were picking trash up from the shoreline like it was treasure. Some of their finds included a cereal box and two plastic oil jugs. I do not think that the beach has been raked once this season and there is all types of wood and other natural debris all over that is attracting swarms of flies.

I pay $15 to use Jennings Beach in Fairfield several times a season and it is worth every penny. The beaches are well groomed, the facilities are nice and the playground is amazing.

If we are really looking to charge more in Stratford we need to step it up. Honestly, as the beach in Stratford looks today, I would be embarrassed to bring a friend from the surrounding towns to visit our beach.    

Tara Wexler -- Stratford, CT

George E. Mulligan June 13, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I suggested the Town BUY sand screener, get GRANTS for new SAND, & place BUOYS with netting at low tide marks, during Public Forums since early 2000's. - Mayor Miron told me his Administration bought the SAND SCREEN Machine, which picks up shells, rocks, flotsam and jetsom, among debris. - Annually I propose getting all kinds of GRANTS, including new SAND. Housatonic River is supposed to be dredged and sand available according to Harbor and LBW Commissioners. when I attend those meetings and question members before and after or hear what is said - Buoy large enough to block waves, would eliminate most Long Beach and Short Beach surface JUNK. Netting at low tide mark sufficient for the highest tides could block underwater JUNK, including SMALL & BIGGER FISH. - Beaches being beaches have FISH, BIRDS, RATS, INSECTS, and other WILD LIFE, where we wade or swim along the edge of the River or L I Sound. - The L I Sound can be nice or nasty. But living close to Raymark, Contract Plating, Tilo, Ashcroft-Dresser, AVCO, Airport, and down stream from SIKORSKY and other stuff ... Having seen EPA BULLETIN # 44 about RAYMARK SUPERFUND & Dumpsite of Asbestos & PCB. Having seen AVCO SAEP legend of BURIED POISONS like CHROMIUM Having spoken with the OWNER of CONTRACT PLATING about what the Government had them bury, which leached into the honeycomb of aquafirs contamination 500 acres of ground water shown in EPA Bulletin # 44 .. L I Sound seems saver than river?
howard June 14, 2011 at 02:01 AM
I'm with Tara on this. This beach could be awesome! Let's fix this problem and all get involved. I'm ready.
Karen E Daden June 14, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Tara and Howard, When exactly did you visit Short Beach? Everyday Public Works cleans the beach with their machine. They have new plantings and a new fence. The Public Restrooms are being painted and cleaned. A new playground to include a toddlers area will be going in. New fencing for the tennis courts have been put up. Our beach is in good shape. I, too have gone to other beaches. Do you have a suggestion for making people carry their trash away as opposed to just throwing it on the beach? Other towns have this problem also. There are several other projects in the pipeline for Short Beach. The unfortunate reality is that once people come to an area trash appears(also the tide brings in some from Milford). And as far as you comment on "resort like". Given that we currently charge only $5 a car maybe raising the rate would allow the town to do more at Short Beach. I sit on the Short Beach Commission and I also live near Short Beach. I know what it used to look like 5 years ago. Today it is a beautiful gem in this Town. We just need more people to take pride in what we have. I invite you to our next Commission meeting - Monday, Aug 1 at 6 pm at the Short Beach Golf Course Clubhouse. And thank you for your interest.
Tara June 14, 2011 at 04:50 PM
Karen, I have been to Short Beach at least once a week in the summer for the last 10 years. I have to disagree with you if you think the beach looks better then it did 5 years ago. In the past the beach always looked semi-cleaned and raked/swept. I am not sure at what time of day Public Works cleans the beach but it has never looked clean once this year when I have gone. In fact, just 2 days before the unoffical start of beach season, Memorial Day Weekend, there were 4-5 foot piles of bulldozed trash and debris all along the beach as well as walls of debris along the entire shoreline. On that day people were leaving due to the conditions. I had contacted Public Works and the Mayor's well but got no response. We returned to the beach a few days after the Memorial Day Weekend and the huge mountains of debris were still there which means they were there for the entire warm, sunny, perfect beach weekend. I am not sure who would pay $15 to sit surrouned by pile of debris. I went with my family to a Milford public beach that weekend and it had none of these issues. Last week on my trip to the beach there were no signs that Public Works had cleaned the beach at all as there were large pieces of wood, big plastic oil jugs and all sorts of other debris at the beach. My point is that if resident from other towns are going to pay $15 to use our beach they are going to expect the same amenities that get when they pay $15 at other CT beaches..
Karen E Daden June 14, 2011 at 05:49 PM
Tara, If you recall the weather prior to Memorial Day Weekend you will remember that we had a series of storms which left that debris you are referring to. Memorial Day Weekend the beaches were clean and full of people having a great time. After the weekend there was another storm. The beach is cleaned everyday. The employees of the Snack Shack also keep DPW informed of the condition of the beach. If you are interested in watching the Beach be cleaned the DPW is there everymorning between 6 - 8 am. Also DPW sends a full crew down, weather permitting, prior to weekends during the summer to mow, weed wack and pick up the garbage. Again, I invite you to our next Commission meeting Monday, Aug 1st at Short Beach. Also, The Snack Shack is sponsoring music and other entertainment throughout the summer.
Walt June 14, 2011 at 06:35 PM
Don't expect the same quality of beach at the mouth of a river as you would have elsewhere, too muc debris and other stuff washing down to it.
G townsend June 14, 2011 at 10:05 PM
I understand the town purchased a screener a couple of years ago . The problem lies with loss of PW staff the conditions are starting to spread across the town . The 16 positions cut affected young and eager employees and left older employees who are now padding their pensions w/massive overtime.( needed to keep minimal appearances up ) They also freeze their pensions at the highest year and go into a second 401 based pension. The other work is contracted out and being bonded on the backs of future residents But this was supposedly a cost cutting measure .
Pam June 15, 2011 at 12:31 PM
I have to agree with just about every comment already written: Yes, I believe the town rakes and sweeps the sand on a regular basis, but the beach still is frequently in deplorable condition. Natural conditions such as being at the mouth of the river, the intersection with Long Island Sound and the wind carrying trash around from all directions help cause the conditions we the people start by leaving belongings behind. WE ALL HAVE TO TAKE A PART IN KEEPING THE STRATFORD BEACHES CLEAN!!! If you brought something in to the area- take it back when you leave. If you see trash left behind, pick it up and throw it out. If individually people do their part in keeping the man-made clutter down, the town can better do their part in keeping the natural debri cleaned up.
Noreen Calgreen June 16, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I have just uploaded a picture my friend took at the beach yesterday. I myself have not been there yet this season. My friend was there yesterday and needless to say she did not stay there long. I don't know where they are cleaning the beach everyday, but they missed a spot. Maybe they don't use the screener everyday or screen the whole beach... Maybe if we charged more for non residence to get into the beach we could use that money to hire some local high school students to pick up trash off the beach everyday and rake where DPW missed.
Gary Jeanfaivre (Editor) June 16, 2011 at 08:36 PM
Thank you, Noreen, for uploading this photograph. I have featured it so that readers can see more easily this illustration of beach conditions.
Monica June 17, 2011 at 01:11 AM
http://stratford.patch.com/articles/beach-parking-fees-will-increase-for-non-residents Follow this article. It looks like they will be charging $15.00 to get in. Noreen, It looks like your photo helped because I went to the beach tonight and it has finally been combed. They had several piles of straw and other debris all over the beach.

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