Buzzards Bay Coalition raises $3.45 million towards Onset bathhouse project

By Meghan Neely | Jul 31, 2018
Photo by: Meghan Neely Board Officer Sam Gray and Buzzards Bay Coalition President Mark Rasmussen present the Selectboard with an update on the Onset bathhouse project.

Buzzards Bay Coalition President Mark Rasmussen provided Selectmen with an update on Tuesday, July 31 for the planned renovations of the Onset bathhouse.

To date, the nonprofit has raised $3.45 million of the $5.3 million needed to turn the dilapidated building into a two-story recreational hub.

"We're over 60 percent of the way there," Rasmussen said. "So we're excited to say that yes, it's really happening."

The transformed bathhouse would host future programming and equipment for the coalition in Onset.

This summer, the nonprofit launched three, two-week programs in conjunction with the Wareham Boys & Girls Club and Wareham Cares for children ages 8 to 12. As a part of these programs, children learn to swim, sail and kayak in Onset Bay while exploring and learning about local coastal ecology.

The completed bathhouse would allow the coalition to offer year-round programming with two classrooms, bathrooms, and a locker room. The bathhouse would also provide wet storage for boats, kayaks and life jackets.

Additional renovations carried out by the coalition have removed invasive plants from both Wickets Island and Burgess Point.

A floating dock and picnic area will be added to Wickets Island later this year.

"Together with the marshes at Shell Point, we've created close to a 100 acres of conservation land," Rasmussen said.

Numerous members of the Onset community turned out to show their support for the project, including Onset Bay Association President Kat Jones.

"This project needs to go forward," one Onset resident said. "It's the best thing to happen to us in years."

Despite the support, others expressed concerns that the bathhouse would obstruct the view of the water from the bluffs.

According to Rasmussen, the Bathhouse sits at 28 feet tall with the bluffs at 26 feet.

"For most adults, the view won't be obstructed," Rasmussen said.

The coalition must next meet with the Conservation Commission on Wednesday, August 1 to receive permits for construction.

"We've had tremendous public, private and state support," Rasmussen said. "We're hoping that continues."

Comments (11)
Posted by: Peaches0409 | Aug 01, 2018 11:23

I'm still baffled by those few who are opposing this. Such a fantastic program! Thank you to the BBC for what you have done and continue to do for the village. With your help hopefully we can once again make it what it used to be!

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 01, 2018 12:55

Peaches - Making an annual donation to the Buzzards Bay Coalition is one of the few times when I really enjoy giving away money.  The BBC is a top notch organization that's completely in our better interest.  Everything proposed here is awesome!  I feel glad that my donation money is going to such good use.


I was not aware of any opposition...but should have known.  It's impossible to please everyone!  A search back did indicate some opposition.  I may have missed some facts, but a quick skim of some articles revealed that opposition is due to land rights and view.  Blah...blah...blah.  Land rights and view are the top two gripes that everybody without land rights and a view are always crying about!  One can't put up a beach umbrella without someone complaining about the view it blocks and the land that it was placed in.  It's the age old issue.  The ones that complain are never the waterfront  property owners.  It's always the types that feel entitled to all the benefits of being a waterfront property owner, without actually paying to be waterfront.  It's an entitlement thing. They dig up all sorts of laws and things in deeds, land restrictions, fish & fowl act, Commonwealth laws on passage along shoreline, view easements, and the list goes on!  They bend and twist all these rules and laws to cater to themselves, even though they don't have anything concrete in the game.


The almighty view is totally dependent on the race to the water.  This bathhouse is on the water.  Therefore it wins the race!  It gets the view.  Tough crap to those that say it blocks their view.


Side story:  The almighty view fight has been going on since Jesus was in diapers!  The $800,000 waterfront home that pays $12,000 in taxes shouldn't have to cater to the little rented cottage, 5 streets away from the water, with a peekaboo view of the water.  Yet the wackadoodles come out of the woodwork as soon as the house on the water wants make any improvements.  Folk can't plant a bush without someone thinking of their view.  Don't even say the 4 letter word "dock".  The wackadoodles don't let the waterfront houses install docks either because docks may affect their view and/or supposedly hinder their ability to traverse the intertidal shoreline.  Then, after opposing everything the waterfront person wants, the same wackadoodles think they can trespass the waterfront house's property to access the water.  Imagine the nerve!  Talk about wanting the cake and to eat it too!





Posted by: bob | Aug 01, 2018 18:33

Great comments from Peaches and WBTS,it just a shame that CPA haven't been use to our other town public beaches as well..

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Aug 01, 2018 20:11

Bob, it doesn't say that CPA funds were used for this.  I can't remember if we voted any CPA funds for this project.  Additionally, I would say it isn't a "shame" that CPA funds haven't been used for other town public beaches.  If someone has an idea and a plan for use and present it to the CPA Committee, the funds could most likely be used for other beaches in town.  They were used to pay a million dollar lawsuit in Swifts Beach years ago so I am sure they can be used to make our beaches better in some way.  Someone just has to actually act on it and apply for it.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 01, 2018 22:10

Wanttosee - that Swift's debacle was a  circus and a nightmare.  I thought that CPA funds were used to purchase the property through the botched eminent domain folly.  I didn't think the ensuing lawsuit was also paid with CPA.  If so, thats's doubly disgusting!

The kicker is the current state of it down there.  Since all that, nothing has been done.  It's an eyesore. Another blighted property.  6 acres of overgrown nothingness.  Prime prime property, just sitting there.

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Aug 01, 2018 23:06

But that's the point, right?  "No, you CAN'T look at my private ocean/bay/cove/river/mud puddle because my great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather was here FIRST!"  Just pretend it's owned by the mythical fat cat referenced above--then it would be okay.


Or consider it involuntary conservation--a euphemism for invasive species habitat.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Aug 01, 2018 23:34

WBTS, yes, in theory it was the "purchase" of the land after the town underpaid the woman for her property and was ordered to pay her an additional million.  So, yes, it was for the purchase after court rule.  But at the time, one Selectwoman made the quote of the century at town meeting (regarding using CPA funds for this) that was something like "it's only illegal if they find out".  Priceless.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Aug 02, 2018 08:11

Yes, I remember that select woman.  She and the one selectman who's in-laws property overlooked the property in question.  Can't speak ill of the deceased, so I can say no more.

Posted by: WantToSeeChange | Aug 03, 2018 08:37

Agreed WBTS.

Posted by: barnstorm | Aug 03, 2018 10:34

Are you aware that $1.4 million is going to be taken from the CPA funds to clean up the dirt at Tremont Nail Bldg.? And for what? To help ready the sale to a weed retailer? The town has no money for a director of the Senior Citizens Org. and gives a paltry $400 to the Veterans Council every 12 months and you wonder why people are questioning this issue as well? Count me in as one of the many cynics in the good town of Wareham.

Posted by: WWreader | Aug 03, 2018 19:45

Do your homework. CPA money disbursement is voted on at town meeting. Nothing gets “taken.”  We the people get to decide.

If you wish to comment, please login.