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Where are our Beaches?

Back in 1998 past town board Councilor Omar Guerrero showed me some plans for beach expansion and beautification. I was extremely excited because I knew that our beaches are the number one attraction for tourists and the most affordable recreation for our locals as well.

I mean a San Pedro without beaches is “No San Pedro”. A few months after that, I saw the commencement of the project and I was so happy. There were even some criticisms about the dredging in front of the island, but I accepted that because of the final outcome of our beaches.

Now I recall how our beaches used to be in the 1950’s, and to give you an idea, I will walk you through some popular beach areas. At the site of the present primary school when you crossed the street, there was a whole lot that housed the government clinic. After that fence there was another one hundred feet of beach where fishermen actually pulled up their boats for repairs and repainting.

A little up north where Holiday Hotel is, there was a boat builder named Mr. Maurice Bladen. He was leasing the property from the Blakes and in front of his lot there was about 150 feet of beach where boats were built and repaired. Because of the construction that went on the beach looked a bit shabby but was very wide, perhaps to about half way where Holliday Hotel piers are at the moment.

My father owned the lot right at the foot of Tackle box. It was a lot measuring 75 feet wide towards the beach. Our wooden house was right at the edge of the beach fence and thereafter there was space where my dad hauled his boat. There must have been about 25 feet clearance from the boat to the fence and from the stern of the boat to the sea there was another 75 feet.

So the beach area there must have been about 125 feet. It was only during a real hurricane that the waves got up to our fence, and in 1961, Hurricane Hattie went with fence, house, kitchen, saloon, well, trees and everything. Since then I have seen that beach shrink to about 25 feet only. One hundred feet has been eroded.

Another landmark in terms of beach areas is in front of Central Park. From the park borderline, there was about 75 feet empty space, then a 50 foot wide wooden school building, and then another 75 feet of school property to the fence by the beach. After the fence there was another 75 feet of beach area. I tell you that we used to play softball behind the school and when someone hit the ball into the water, it was considered a long hit and a home run. That beach area was very wide, and was the site where children played and swam every day, especially on Sundays. I would not be exaggerating when I say that perhaps we have lost about 150 feet of beach and property in that area.

Finally at the site of Fido’s, there used to be Mr. Fido Nunez’s property on the front street. Towards the beach Mr. Seferino Paz (decease) had his lot with a huge house. Then after that there was this wide beach used for playing games, hauling boats, and even for late afternoon fishing.

Oh how we enjoyed our beaches. Attempts have been made in 1998 to expand our beaches, but three hurricanes have eroded the beaches once again, and I would love to see another major expansion to provide wide open sandy areas for recreation and to keep the sea a little farther during stormy weather.

The next town board, after doing your responsibilities with streets, parks, garbage, drains, civic center, hospital, schools, etc, perhaps it would be wonderful if some reclamation could be done on some beach areas. Trust me, 25 years ago we had some beautiful beaches, and sandy streets as well. By the way, I see some vehicle traffic on the beach by Fido’s and Big Daddy’s. Can someone look into that?

– by Angel Nuñez, Columnist

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