Hampton Beach Master Plan: Hampton Beach Over the Next 50 Years

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E. Hampton Beach Over the Next 50 Years

The Master Plan includes the challenge to envision the future of Hampton Beach in fifty years. This challenge is linked to the perception that fundamental changes must occur and that patience may be required in order to realize the full implications of changes that will be made over the next few years.

Artist's sketch of a future Hampton Beach
Hampton Beach, as envisioned in this Master Plan, will become a mixed-use destination as well a high quality, year-round community oriented to its unique waterfront location. It will still be known for its lively seasonal beach life and the clustered attractions and entertainment, but it will be acknowledged as a place that people and families of widely different incomes and interests will all find a comfortable place to come, because the Beach will have highly compatible uses to offer everyone. But it will also be acknowledged as a great place to live year round, because of its overall vitality and the pleasant neighborhoods.

It will become a community with distinctive districts catering to different needs. The center of Hampton Beach will be a dense and pleasant ocean front village, which is the liveliest place along the beach. Wide, pleasant sidewalks will support large numbers of people strolling along Ocean Boulevard, enjoying a range of restaurant, shopping and entertainment choices. But this district will retain a life and vitality that stretches from spring to fall. Winter will remain the quiet season, but even then the core district will retain a population of residents in quality housing and visitors to a core of restaurants and hotels that find it increasingly profitable to remain open, and cater to a niche market for meetings and weekend trips.

Hampton Beach will be known for the range of festivals and special events that are hosted there, throughout the summer and in other parts of the year. These events will cater to different interests and populations, so that anyone could have a good reason to enjoy a visit at least once a year.

The State Park will be recognized as a diverse and pleasant destination offering different experiences for different visitors, catering equally to families, young people, adults and seniors. It will have a string of three pavilions along the main beach, surrounded by broad public plazas that are crowded with people in the summer, enjoying the special events, using the restroom and changing facilities, participating in park-sponsored events, or simply enjoying the sport of watching each other. The southern end of the park will offer facilities for visitors who will enjoy a quieter visit to Hampton Beach, with facilities to make their visit more pleasant and interesting. While the State Park will retain its recreation and beach orientation, it will also attract those interested in the wildlife and ecology of the area and include new ways for the visitors to interpret and enjoy these assets.

Artist's sketch of a future Hampton Beach as seen from the air

The Beach will have a series of distinctive districts that provide varying mixes of year-round residential and hospitality uses, with sidewalk and bikeway connections within and among them. These districts will be characterized by buildings that reflect the New England beach character, and by landscaping that provides an important visual relief to the relatively high densities of the cluster, village-scale of the neighborhoods.

In fifty years, the automobile will remain a significant way to reach Hampton Beach, but excellent options will exist to dramatically reduce the impacts of parking and congestion. Parking along the beach will be limited to the minimum necessary to practically support businesses and access; many people will park in strategically located parking areas and low parking structures that do not directly consume value beachfront land, and use convenient shuttle buses to move along the beach. Others will choose to never bring their car at all, leaving them in remote lots or using bus and shuttle connections to the regional train systems. Bicycles will be everywhere, supported by convenient storage areas, racks, and dedicated bikeways where they can be practically provided.

Economically, the value of the Beach to the economy of the Town and the State will be widely understood. There will be a regular program of capital improvements and maintenance projects to support local property values and business activity, to the long-term benefit of lower tax rates for everyone. The State will participate in this constant maintenance and redevelopment effort in order to sustain high quality programs and facilities because of the wider contribution that this investment will make to the seacoast region and the State.

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