BENCHES 2013-Sept 2018
The Seabrook Beach Civic Association Bench Restoration Program
The Seabrook Beach Civic Association (SBCA) was founded over 20 years ago to help ‘Beautify’ the Seabrook Beach Village District ... its roads, green areas and paths. Several projects begun by the ten original men who came to live in the district upon retirement have become the norm. The placement of benches along the path to provide a place to sit and enjoy the sea air or the view of the ocean became a welcome addition to the pathways. The addition of Flower Pots helped to brighten up the sandy pathways as well. Our Flags flying on Route 1A show our appreciation to those that serve or have served in the armed forces and gave so much to protect our freedom. The large flag that welcomes our residents when approaching from route 286 and the small park there also serve as a reminder and a thank you. The Flag and dedication plaque at the Cargill Memorial located at the corner of Hooksett Street and Ocean Boulevard (Rt 1A) is also maintained by the SBCA and made possible by the donations of our members. Among our programs this year is the Bench Restoration Program.
The Seabrook Beach Civic Association Bench Restoration Program will include replacing wood slats with Trex, restoring nameplates and returning them to original sponsors and removing benches that have been deemed unsafe.
The stormy winters and harsh weather conditions of the beach have not been kind to our benches. Some examples of what we discovered when we did a full inventory of all 78 benches in June of 2017 were :
1. Rusty bolts poking out of the slats, 2. Split and splintery wooden slats on seats and backs, 3. Concrete bench ends thin, cracked, split, broken in half no longer supporting slats, 4. Loose or missing front slats, 5. Partially repaired with mismatched wooden slats, 6. Collapsed benches in a pile of rubble These are just the 'highlights' of the issues documented in the full survey in June of 2017. The following pictures show you some of these issues found:
Once the full inventory was completed, the SBCA board decided to take steps to fully correct the issues. The safety of our members, residents, visitors and guests is paramount and we want all benches to be safe. When the program began in 2000 the concrete bench ends available were thinner than those used today. Our New England weather and time have not been kind to them and the remaining original bench ends have all developed splits and cracks. The removal of the ‘wobbly’ and dangerous benches along with those with cracked concrete ends has begun. All benches have been tested as of May 2018. Many were easily pushed over when a little pressure was applied to one end and they are being removed first. Those with cracks, splits and missing concrete will be the second group removed.
Four benches were removed over the Memorial Day weekend and all unsafe benches were removed before the July 4th weekend. If you happened to be along Atlantic Avenue, you may have seen the concrete remains that were placed for disposal at the beach path's end. If you looked closely you could see the broken and cracked concrete that barely supported the wooden bench. You also saw chunks of concrete that were on the ground or fell off once the slats were removed. Pieces were available for view at the Seabrook Beach Civic Association meetings. Some of the benches that were refurbished will display the Seabrook Beach Civic Association plaque. Some have moved away form the beach and no longer visit to see or enjoy the bench on our path. In replacing the plaque, we are able to keep benches in the beach village district and acknowledge that the responsibility for their care is directly linked to that of the Seabrook Beach Civic Association.
While those who have moved away from the beach district are looking forward to having their dedication plaque returned to them so that it may be placed where they can be seen, enjoyed and be reminded of their treasured memories here in the beach village district. One of our previous residents has placed the plaque and the top board of the bench over the fireplace so that it has an honored place in their families memory. Another has placed the plaque on a bench in her yard to remind her of the days spent at the beach and on that bench.
So that we do not forget those who cared enough to sponsor a plaque dedicated “in memory” to their loved ones or provided a special saying, we have posted a copy of all dedication plaques on our website www.seabrookbeachcivicassoc.org. We have also created a donor page that lists all those who have donated to our programs thus supporting our efforts beautifying the Seabrook Beach Village District.
We thank everyone for their sponsorship and membership over the years and hope that you will continue to support the Seabrook Beach Civic Association and its beautification efforts within the Seabrook Beach Village District (i.e. flags, benches, flower pots, welcome signs, park areas, etc.).
The Seabrook Beach Civic Association holds monthly meetings in the Precinct Building at 210 Ocean Boulevard. While the work of the Board and many of the volunteers is year-round, the meetings are held on the 3rd Monday of the month from April through October. Meetings allow members and guests to connect while they discuss what is happening in the town and beach village district as it pertains to the Seabrook Beach Civic Association.
It's all in the view
Seabrook Beach Civic Association
The Bench Program
Paul Lemoine was voted in as the first president of the Seabrook Beach Civic Association and was instrumental in getting the bench program initiated. Along with other interested residents like his friend, Dick Conlin, and Chuck Defrancesco, Roland Jacques and many others, they met occasionally to discuss various ideas and plans to enhance the area. During 1999 -2000 the Seabrook Beach Civic Association asked and was granted permission by the Town of Seabrook to place benches randomly between the main streets along the waterfront from the street to the water. Ken Clark became the first "bench" Chairperson/coordinator. Tirelessly and with dedication, they started building benches for the beach. Many families wanted a bench with a name plaque to commemorate their happy summers and times spent on Seabrook Beach and the SBCA Bench Program was born.
In September 2013, after 13 years of volunteer service, Ken retired from installing and maintaining approximately 70 benches at various sites in the Seabrook Beach Village District area east of 1A and his position on the board of the Seabrook Beach Civic Association as Bench Chairman.
During 2012-2013, Jovin Landscaping (who was already doing landscaping for the Association) was contacted to help with the program that year. They did a great job providing support for maintenance and installation of benches when the need arose.
Around this same time, Vickie Sawyer accepted the position as Bench Program Chairperson and Jovin Landscaping was asked to continue with maintaining and installing benches. As Jovin Landscaping grew and travel from North Andover to Seabrook was no longer an option, volunteers again took over the installation and maintenance of the benches. When installation and refurbishing of the benches became more than volunteers could handle, Tom Reinke was hired and began installing and maintaining the benches under Vickie's supervision.
In mid-2017, Vickie Sawyer resigned from the Bench Coordinator position and the current President, Phyllis Farfaras, filled in as 'Acting Bench Coordinator' for the remaining of 2017 and all of 2018.
Experience over the years has more than proven it was a great idea and remains today very popular. We have very little space left for the many requests we receive for them! There are now 78 benches on 20 pathways.
Please enjoy and be respectful of all our benches. Do not adhere signs, place graffiti or move them. If you see a bench that has been tampered with or in need of some care, please contact our Bench Coordinator or President.
In 2017, the Seabrook Beach Civic Association decided to put a moratorium on new benches. There will not be any new benches added in 2018.
The 2018 Bench Program will work on maintenance of the 75 plus existing benches. At this time ALL of the benches have been updated to 5" thick concrete ends and composite Trex slats. No more splinters or deterioration of the seat or back. In addition, the Dedication Plaques have been refurbished to look brand new by a process created in 2017 by Vin Ferrante and implemented by our two volunteers Cheryl DeNicola and Karen Cox. At this time all plaques have been refurbished.
The benches are listed and shown below.
The pictures are organized alphabetically by street and each dedication/sponsor name is in the title.
Only 45 pictures are shown at a time so the 'Show More' button will take you to the next group.
The benches are in order by street and from Road to Beach and each donor name is in the title. 'Clicking' a single picture will 'pop' it up showing the full bench with file name and allow you to move forward or back to view the others in enlarged mode.
Some of the activities and people that maintain our benches
Tom along with volunteers Parker & Hadley put the finishing touch on a new bench. Photo courtesy of Vickie Sawyer
Tom Reinke, of North Andover, MA, pushes a heavy concrete bench up a boardwalk to a sponsor's and SBCA approved "perfect spot." Photo courtesy of Vickie Sawyer