The lake and beach area were historically used by local families, essentially unknown and under utilized for decades. However in 1989 a full restoration project was undertaken. The project was a collaboration between the Amesbury Conservation commission and the Office of Community and Economic Development, it was funded with a combination of local, State and Federal funds. Dedicated in 1990 it was a modern, attractive facility, with a long sanded beach area, bath and concession facilities, and paved parking for 100 cars. However years of neglect, poor maintenance, and closure of the facility during the last five years, left it a hollow shell of its former self. We are hopeful that the beach can be stabilized and the beach restored again to exceed its former park-like beauty.
As construction to the dam was beginning the Lake Gardner Improvement Association began its work to advocate for the revitalization of the Beach Area. It was our goal to see that the facility be brought into good working order for its scheduled re-opening in the spring of this year. Among priority items were drainage, landscaping, repairs to fixed structures, and various safety issues. With the assistance of town employees, association members, and volunteers these goals were met. On July 1st the beach reopened to the public looking much like the attractive facility it was when it was first dedicated in 1990.
In 2020 we undertook efforts to control runoff with the construction of a drainage system contained within a granite retaining wall, which utilized some of the granite recovered from the Whittier Bridge project on nearby Interstate 95.
Now our association is looking to the future of this facility with ways it can be improved. For example, the construction of the boardwalk and bridge has allowed year-round access to the network of trails throughout the greenbelt alongside the lake. As we worked on the beach revitalization during the last year our members overwhelmingly heard requests, which have now become the focus of our current efforts.
Plans are being developed before next season that will involve improved management of parking that may involve resident parking stickers for those living in Amesbury and charging a small fee to out of town guests. By placing a value on the beach, funds will be raised to help care for and manage the facility.