Beach house project headed to town Beach Party

Design by Jeff Mcbride
This rendering of a new Shelburne town beach house was presented to the Selectboard this week before the recreation comittee asks for public feedback.

The project to rebuild the 64-year-old Shelburne town beach house started two years ago, and the Selectboard got its first look at the preliminary design on Tuesday night.

Last year, Shelburne resident and architect with Birdseye Design Jeff McBride volunteered to design the new beach house.

McBride presented his sketches to the board and explained his design rationale.

McBride, who also serves on the Development Review Board, said he “knows the setbacks” involved with this project.

For starters, he said he thinks keeping the footprint of the original beach house is important. He described the guiding principal that he kept in mind while designing the project was to “Keep it simple – don’t try too hard.”

So, McBride said he “rejiggered the parts:” bathrooms, changing rooms, a shower, lifeguard stand, and a lost-and-found area.

His plans include four private gender-neutral changing rooms with bathroom space and changing space instead of the communal changing rooms currently at the beach house. Two of those changing rooms would be handicapped-accessible. He also designed three single-stall showers and add a three-sided covered porch space on the exterior.

Looking at the preliminary design, it may seem as if something important is missing.

There are no windows.

“Instead of thinking, ‘Here is your window, here is your wall,’” McBride said, he decided to think of translucent materials to build the beach house. “Being able to think about as having that light brought into that space and have that privacy as well,” he said.

He also decided to keep the Shelburne Recreation painting which is on the current beach house as the centerpiece of the building. It could be recreated through a number of techniques, like wood burning, painting, etching, or anything the designers wanted.

Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Cieplicki said that with other capital projects vying for town resources, recreation officials are not thinking this will be included in next year’s budget. However, she said, they are “anxious to see how the public reacts.”

There will be tours of the old beach house at the Back to the Beach party on June 19, and plans for the new beach house will be on display.

The estimate for the building designed by McBride is $300,000 to $350,000. A previous estimate for a design that restored the beach house to its original form was about $270,000 a few years ago, when the group originally started looking into the project.

When asked about fundraising for the project, Cieplicki reported previous efforts were “not very fruitful. We raised about $1,000 over a series of months,” she said. “We needed a number before we could get a design.”

McBride said he envisions the new beach house as “a gathering space.”

“It can be an active hub for the beach area,” he said.

The next steps for the recreation department are to get an idea of what taxpayers think and go from there.

In other buisness:
• Rene Gagnon was appointed to the Cemetery Commission for a 2-year term.

• Hannah Frasure was appointed as the student member of the Natural Resources and Conservation Committee. She is currently a sophomore at Champlain Valley Union High School.

• The Jiffy Mart at 5637 Shelburne Road received a second-class liquor license, allowing the store to sell beer and wine.

• The Selectboard approved the Wastewater Budget that keeps the wastewater fee rate at $13.15 per thousand gallons of waste water.

• The Selectboard agreed to have the town apply for a grant for a bike path on Irish Hill Road that involves an 80 percent match from Vermont Agency of Transportation. The bikes and paths committee recommended applying for the grant. The town has applied for this grant for the past two years but has not yet succeeded in securing funding.

• The Selectboard approved labor contracts for town employees with the AFSCME Union. Details on the contracts were not available at press time.

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