EASTHAM — The T-Time Development Committee that has been studying the 11-acre former driving range for two years has wrapped up the public input phase of its work. At three forums this fall — on Sept. 16, Sept. 22, and Oct. 6 — the group hoped to add perspectives to those gathered through a survey. Only about half of the survey’s respondents were year-round residents, and 70 percent of the respondents were over 55.
The first draft of recommended uses, released in August, named a community center, limited senior and workforce/community housing, and outdoor green space. Many who participated called for mixed development rather than seeing the site devoted to any single purpose.
A total of 148 people attended the forums to speak and answer poll questions, according to the committee’s website; demographic information on those who came was not reported. The committee will take their views into consideration as they prepare an updated version of their recommendations for the property’s use.
Committee Chair Karen Strauss said that the group hopes to have a new, “hopefully close to final” draft of the recommendations for the select board by Nov. 16. After that, the select board will vote on the future of the property that the town bought in 2019.
Community members also had the option of commenting by email. Since March, the committee has received 22 messages. Unlike survey answers and spoken comments, which were paraphrased in their transcription, these emails reflect community members’ unvarnished feelings about T-Time, word for word.
The excerpts that follow were selected to show a range of the ideas expressed. The full set of emails and all other documents pertaining to the project are available at easthamttime.org. —Cam Blair
“Having used the existing pickleball courts many times, I have noticed, especially now, a large increase of participants and consequent large increase in waiting time to use the two courts. Eastham could greatly benefit in building two more courts… Both families with children and pickleball players would greatly benefit. Families are growing in number and the sport of pickleball is growing in popularity.” —Dr. Robert H. Audet
“I would love to see T-Time become affordable housing. We shouldn’t still be discussing the housing crisis in the 21st Century.” —Sue Doherty
Cape League Baseball
“Extend the Cape Cod Baseball League to the Outer Cape. Guaranteed seasonal activity that enjoys well-funded marketing from CCBL. Helps establish Eastham as an Entertainment & Experience Destination for the Outer Cape. Can be comarketed with mini-golf at Arnold’s, bike rental, shops, Sacred Surf, and other existing attractions/businesses that focus on experiences. Year-round customer fan base can draw from Eastham, Wellfleet, Truro and Provincetown.” —Michele Clarke
The Library Is Our Community Center
“Despite the claims that we have inadequate infrastructure for active recreation, we’re skeptical that that’s the case. There’s public infrastructure in Wiley Park, behind Town Hall and at the High School and Elementary School, there’s the bike trails and hiking trails, and, of course, in season, we have multiple swimming beaches…
“The same thing goes for the community center. When the library was sold to us, one of the selling points was that it would provide a community center, of sorts, and it has delivered on that promise.” —Amanda and Jim Baughman
Needs vs. Wish Lists
“We don’t need a new COA, we don’t need a pool, we don’t need a rec space. While all of these things are desirable, we don’t need them. Give workers/families/seniors a place to live that they can afford, then develop a wish list that is feasible only if the Cape has the ability to provide affordable living space to those people who will be the backbone of progress and community improvement.” —Catherine Mondon
Housing for Elders
“We will not be able to attend the meeting Wednesday evening but we would like to voice our support for elderly housing. We feel that is something that is really needed in Eastham. We know many older people that had lived here for years that had to move out of town to be in safe housing.” —Paul and Audrey Bohannon
A 50-Meter Pool
“I know that competitive swim families and all others in the community would benefit enormously from a 50-meter pool. This last school year we struggled with facilities that are less than desirable and do not provide the appropriate conditions for the team for practices. The pool at Willy’s gym is close to the school, however it is falling apart and almost daily we faced issues that affected practices and meets.” —Jennifer Stevens (NRHS varsity swim coach)
“In Eastham, the Homeless Prevention Council has served more than 5,500 clients since 1991. In 2020 and 2021, we have seen an increase in clients in Eastham by more than 40 percent. This increased need is due to the housing crisis and increased cost of living, which has local residents of all income levels calling for our services and learning that there are no housing solutions if their rental has been sold. The housing crisis is past the tipping point, and we need immediate action now on all fronts to support our local community and workforce.” —Hadley Luddy, CEO, Homeless Prevention Council
Keep It Mostly Green
“[How] about not building any buildings on the property? Instead use it for outdoor recreation, tennis, pickleball, basketball, maybe some picnic areas, a playground & playing fields. Also a space for a Farmers Market & Community Gardens. Landscape the rest with indigenous plantings & keep it mostly green space. Route 6 in North Eastham is overdeveloped & ugly. This could be a beautiful spot amidst the clutter.” —Gayle Fee
Did You Ask the COA?
“We are appreciative of the T-Time Committee’s work relating to the T-Time Property and we look forward to working with the Committee and Town as planning moves forward for this property. We were, however, concerned regarding the draft recommendations that now include the COA property at 1405 Nauset Road, since neither the COA Board nor the Friends Board were included in any discussions regarding future recommendations for this property… The COA Board and the Friends of the COA Board respectfully request that the T-Time Committee suspend any recommendations regarding the current COA property until the COA Board has completed the stated strategic planning process and can make fact-based recommendations. We will be pleased to work together, collectively, with the Town and T-Time Committee at that time.” —Joan Lockhart, on behalf of the Eastham COA Board and the Board of the Friends of the Eastham COA
Rainy Day Play
“As a working parent to come home from work in the early winter darkness and taking my child for a little playtime and a little community socializing for myself was so important. I am [also] proposing an open space indoor play area for families, friends and children to go to on a rainy wet cold day or evening.” —Katie Emond