Riverwalk Park and Boardwalk

Updated October 11, 2022

PROJECT BACKGROUND:  The Town has spent many years evaluating public uses for the 22-acre town-owned former drive-in property at 669 Route 28, which was originally purchased in 1986 for recreational purposes.  Although plans for the site had originally included a public/private marina, concerns about financial viability led the Board of Selectmen to form the Drive-In Site Utilization Committee (DISUC) in 2015 to investigate other uses for the property. 

The DISUC underwent a multi-year investigative process including a detailed Feasibility and Concept Design Study for a Riverwalk Park along the Parkers River, a raised Boardwalk and an Event Space for periodic events.  A robust public participation process was included in the study to garner stakeholder input.  Various modifications and compromises were made to the design concepts to help mitigate concerns and issues identified through this process, the most notable being a looped Boardwalk rather than one that went over the marsh to Seagull Beach.  Additional information on the process, final recommendations and project costs can be found in the Riverwalk Park and Boardwalk Feasibility/Concept Design Study Report, dated August 2018, available at the Link below.

CURRENT STATUS:  With the support of the Board of Selectmen, Town Staff and the DISUC Committee are moving forward with the Riverwalk Park, looped Boardwalk and Event Space.  In July 2021, consultant BETA was engaged to further develop the design concepts into construction documents and obtain the necessary permitting for the project.  A presentation was given in May 2022 to the Board of Selectmen, updating them on the project (see Link below).  A Community Meeting was also held in September 2022 to update the community on this exciting project as we move into the permitting phase (see Link below).

Riverwalk Park
:   The Riverwalk Park continues to be refined to create a variety of amenities including parking, pathways, restrooms, landscaping with native vegetation, lawn area with shade structure, various seating options, interactive natural playscape area, kayak launch, interpretive signage, space for artist shanties and public art, and a large special event area.  The park is also being designed to accommodate a future wastewater pump station as part of the Town’s clean water initiative.

Event Space
The Event Space is envisioned to draw people periodically to Yarmouth for a variety of special events sponsored by different organizations and may include outdoor movies, themed festivals, carnivals, craft fairs, car or boat shows, and family oriented live performances and/or concerts.  BETA is working on developing plans for site improvements to support these events such as new utilities (electrical service and power stations, water service, perimeter site lighting, and Wi-Fi); grading and greening of the site; locations for temporary event parking, porta-johns, and food vendors; and optimizing the location for a temporary stage. 

A sound study was completed by acoustic consultant Reuter Associates in July of 2021 to evaluate the best location and orientation for a temporary stage for amplified events that would minimize sound impacts to abutting neighborhoods.  Through this analysis, it was recommended to orient the stage towards Route 28
at 10 degrees magnetic north.

Although the site was heavily utilized for events during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to help our struggling businesses and local economy, this was a temporary situation and not the long-term vision for the site.  The intent is to balance periodic use of the event space with the needs of the community and surrounding neighborhoods. 

Significant work has been done to refine the layout and design of the Boardwalk loop located south of the Riverwalk Park to protect the natural resources and take into consideration proximity to abutting residences.  The Boardwalk design incorporates a 6’ wide wooden boardwalk with a number of overlooks, seating areas and interpretive signage.  Railing materials will include vertical wood posts with the potential for cable railing in areas to maximize views.  On BETA’s recommendation, the DISUC chose helical anchors for the boardwalk support system after reviewing such issues as constructability, longevity, maintenance, cost and environmental impacts.

FUNDING:  Significant progress has been made to secure funding for the project, with approximately $6 million acquired to date and outlined below.  However, there have been a number of issues which have impacted the overall project costs including the recent volatility in material costs and availability, higher than anticipated inflation, and increased costs associated with constructing a code compliant restroom structure on the property.  BETA is working on updating cost information based on the best available data, and additional funding sources will be needed to construct the project as currently envisioned.  The DISUC is anticipating applying for a supplemental Community Preservation Act grant for consideration at the 2023 Annual Town Meeting.

  • Community Preservation Act (CPA):  CPA funds totally $3.7 million have been allocated through town meeting appropriations in 2019 and 2021 for design/permitting and construction of the Riverwalk Park and Boardwalk.
  • Tourism Revenue Preservation Funds (TRPFs):  The Community & Economic Development Committee (CEDC) has allocated approximately $105,000 in TRPF funds to support the sound study and the design/permitting for the Event Space.
  • Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant (LWCF) Program:  The CPA funds were used to leverage a LWCF grant for $954,000 towards design/permitting and construction of the Riverwalk Park.
  • Seaport Economic Council Innovation Grant:  The $1.0 million Seaport grant was awarded for construction of the Riverwalk Park and Boardwalk.
  • Reallocated Funds:  Approximately $128,000 in reallocated funds from previous unspent articles have been re-directed through town meeting towards the project.
  • Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR):  A DCR grant of $200,000 has been given to the town for creation of the Riverwalk Park.


Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Materials for the latest Drive-In Site Utilization Committee (DISUC) meetings are available at: https://www.yarmouth.ma.us/agendacenter


For more information, please click Links below:

July 24, 2018 Meeting with Selectmen

May 22, 2018 Meeting with Selectmen
April 2, 2018 Meeting
February 13, 2018 Meeting
January 24, 2018 Meeting
December 7, 2017 Meeting
September 26, 2017 Meeting with Selectmen
September 18, 2017 Meeting
Public Comments received
August 23, 2017 Meeting
July 31, 2017 Meeting
July 10, 2017 Meeting
May 30 and June 7, 2017 Public Meetings
May 2, 2017 Meeting
March 24, 2017 Kickoff Meeting

FOR BACKROUND INFORMATION, Please Clink the Links Below:

Background Information:

Riverwalk Park

Riverwalk Park

Event Space

Event Space