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Access to Scarborough's Pine Point Beach in place for holiday weekend

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Access to Scarborough's Pine Point Beach in place for holiday weekend

SCARBOROUGH — The first phase of construction on the Pine Point Beach access path and King Street reconstruction project is coming to a close just in time for beach goers to flood the area for the Memorial Day weekend.

Construction workers this week poured and pressed the cement for the town-owned path to the beach in a race to finish before the tourists arrive.

Town Manager Tom Hall said the project will miss the mark slightly, because a fence will not be installed by the end of the day Friday. He said he hoped it would be in early next week.

"There are a few lingering items, but it's pretty limited," Hall said.

The first phase included only the hardscapes, such as the cement walkway, paved drop-off area and curbing. It also included the removal of a barrier wall in the right-of-way in front of the Lighthouse Inn. A short sidewalk has been installed in its place.

The project came under fire from residents who objected to the town's land swap with the Lighthouse Inn owners, which allowed the inn to expand its parking area and gave the town a path down to the beach. The town lost some acreage in the process.

"This is likely the best we can do given the loss of Depot Street and the unequal and disproportionate land exchange," Pine Point Residents Association member John Thurlow said.

"We would have been able to do more if we hadn't given up all that land," he said.

While the association laments the loss of the land, Thurlow said, members are quite happy with the design and with the fact that the area will not be under construction during the summer.

"It was a public process for the design. We didn't get everything we wanted, but for the most part, we're happy with it," he said. "We're glad there will be a break during the summer months."

The project included the removal of a stone wall that encroached on the right-of-way in front of the Lighthouse Inn. The wall has drawn the ire of residents who said it forces pedestrians into the street.

Thurlow said the decision to remove the wall came at the 11th hour, when 35 concerned residents met with Hall and Town Council Chairwoman Carol Rancourt at the Engine 4 Fire Station just before construction began in April.

"Ms. Rancourt deserves a lot of credit for that. She made this happen," Thurlow said.

In early April, the town council approved $146,000 for the project out of excess funds from a project on Broadturn Road.

Hall said the first phase has come in slightly over budget, but that he is confident the difference will be made up in the second phase.

"The overall project will come in on line," he said.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net