Back in around 2002-3 when Greenwich was changing the beach access rules because of the court case we lost, one RTM member (me) was fighting to ensure that Byram Beach didn’t sell passes at the gate because I feared it would be very inviting to non-residents who could park in downtown Byram or just take the bus – there’s a bus stop right at the Byram Park entrance. Our Byram delegation signed a letter to the editor that was printed explaining this concern and thanks to Dick Bergstresser and Peter Crumbine, the same rules (buy your passes at Town Hall) were implemented for Byram as were for Tod’s Point.
The letter to the editor prompted a nasty response from a Port Chester Councilman who blathered on about how snobby we are in Greenwich, how we have no right to keep others out, and even how our beaches were sub-par. He invited Greenwich residents to visit Rye Town Beach, where everyone is welcome for the same low price (then $5).
Well, fast forward to 2010. I don’t think this was reported in the Greenwich papers, but Port Chester/Rye now charges different (higher) prices for non-residents. Here’s a favorite quote from the April 18, 2010 article in the Rye Patch, (full article here):
More than 150 area residents came to voice their concerns to the Commission, essentially saying: “We want our park and beach back.”
Their emphasis was on the “our,” that “our” constituting the estimated 60,000 residents of Rye City, Port Chester, Rye Brook and Rye Neck who make up the constituency that pays the taxes that support the park.
Sound familiar ? And by the way, it’s now $20 to park at their beach on weekends. They actually call it “the Greenwich model.” Also, they took away parking on the big lawn in Rye Town Park, eliminating parking for 250 cars.
A subject for another blog post is how we should not have been surprised that when Port Chester/Rye raised their prices, Greenwich beaches pricing became more attractive.
At least we no longer have to face obnoxious criticism of our beach access policies from Port Chester politicians.