EDITORIAL – A much-needed upgrade for Public Beach

Seven Mile Public Beach has been a victim of its own success in recent years, with vendors, tourists and locals all vying for their place in the sand and sun.

As frequent beachgoers well know, the favorite spot has become so popular that the atmosphere can be a bit too chaotic, with purveyors of beach chairs, banana boats and jet skis and other vendors staking out space on the already-crowded stretch.

Government and tourism leaders have struggled to find ways to impose standards and order without discouraging or unfairly punishing the entrepreneurs who offer popular services there. Call it a work in progress – one which will get a big boost after the completion of a $3 million improvement project, which kicks off today.

As the Compass reported last week, the upgrades will include 16 cottage-style vendor stalls, which will move commercial activity from the busy beach. The project will also include improvements to football and volleyball courts, including comfortable places for fans to cheer teams on. Additional landscaping, green space, walking paths and upgraded parking will further enhance the well-used area. New toilet facilities will be accessible to all, including people with disabilities.

As with any improvement of this size and scope, regular visitors should expect to make some adjustments, both during the next few months of construction and over the longer haul.

One change that will be immediately noticed by hosts of birthday parties and barbecues is that they’ll no longer be allowed to drive private vehicles directly up to the beach. Instead of pulling up to load and unload party supplies and gear, they’ll have to haul it in from the parking lot.

But this minor inconvenience, and any other bumps in the road during the next few months of construction, hopefully will be well worth it once the upgrade is complete.

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