By K. David Weidner, Ph.D., Executive Director
Prior to recent events, many of you who live in the Provincetown area and have traveled down Bradford Street may have noticed light work had started on our Bradford Access Project (BAP). Later in May, construction will be underway and so we wanted to share updates on the status of the project. We hope as we start to build, the excitement for this project does too.
What is the Bradford Access Project and why is it necessary?
For those who may be new to our blog, the Bradford Access Project is the construction of an inclined elevator. The elevator will offer easy accessibility for all, including folks with disabilities, from the Bas Relief Park, which commemorates the signing of the Mayflower Compact, on Bradford Street to the grounds of the Monument and Museum located at the top of High Pole Hill. Bradford Street and Commercial Street are two of Provincetown’s central and most highly trafficked avenues and the project will enable PMPM to extend its front door down to these main arteries, better connecting us to the downtown area. This will also improve the local economy by supporting tourism.
Two of the most commonly asked questions by Provincetown visitors and tourists are “What is that monument on top of that hill?” followed by “and how do I get there?”
While the answers are easy, fulfilling on the second one is harder, as reaching the Monument currently involves a long, roundabout walk or drive up High Pole Hill Road. We are well aware that the walk up the hill is daunting for those on foot and creates a barrier between us and the downtown area. Once completed early next year, the project will make it much easier and faster for visitors on foot or bicycle to reach the Pilgrim Monument from the town center.
The institution’s vision, dating back to 1910, was to create a connection with the town of Provincetown and the Pilgrim Monument. The Monument stands tall as a beacon of welcoming, tolerance and acceptance. During the height of the Portguese fishing industry, the Monument was even used by mariners to locate their home — Provincetown — a place of safety. Like today, we welcome all to Provincetown and the connection to the Monument is made stronger by the construction of the inclined elevator. We see it as the realization of the vision with the goal to grow and make the institution stronger.
The past year has been spent finalizing the necessary permits and permissions to construct the inclined elevator. The steps include meeting environmental regulations and showing that we can minimize the environmental impact to High Pole Hill and surrounding neighborhoods. Obtaining permissions for a project of this scale and type have to be secured at both the town and state levels, and as you can imagine, those all take time, in the form of completing numerous applications, meetings and public hearings.
Construction on the inclined elevator is currently scheduled to begin in May, but that may change as we get more updates and guidance from authorities regarding the current COVID-19 situation.
The team constructing our future
The Bradford Access Project will be developed by local companies. Our general contractor is the Robert B. Our Company, a family-owned business from Harwich.
Jay Cashman, Inc. of Quincy, has been involved with the project from its infancy, and has helped locate suitable sub-contractors. Jay Cashman, founder of Jay Cashman, Inc. has an ancestor who was involved in the laying of the monument’s cornerstone in 1907.
Other team members are Coastal Engineering Company Inc. of Orleans; landscape architects Hawk Design, Inc. of Sandwich; architects Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber of Yarmouth Port; Safe Harbor environmental consultants of Wellfleet; McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners of Taunton; Arrowstreet of Boston; BOLD Lighting of Los Angeles and New York City; Outdoor Engineers of Colorado and Switzerland; and Elevator Service Company of Torrington, CT.
Once construction does begin, we will keep the community updated here on our blog as well as by social media. Our current goal is to have the inclined elevator operating early next year, but that is also subject to change.
Project costs are forecasted between $4.5 and 5 million and no public money from the town is being used for the construction. The Cape Cod Pilgrim Memorial Association, who oversees the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum, is paying for the project and the new inclined elevator will operate on land already owned by the Association.
The project received a state grant of $200,000 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council for the elevator’s design and construction. The balance of the funds needed have been secured through MassDevelopment and a loan from the Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod – of course we bank local!
BAP: A big first step
The much needed connection of the Monument and Museum to the town has been put off for far too long and we’re very excited to see its instant, positive effect. But it’s more than just a deeper connection, it’s also a representation of some of the key ideals and values that have proudly become synonymous with Provincetown: All are welcome. Everyone is included. The inclined elevator will better allow everyone to be welcomed at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum.
Beyond the Bradford Access Project
The Bradford Access Project’s legacy and value will live long after its completion. It is merely a beginning, the first step in a longer journey to transform PMPM from a local, community museum into a world-class destination for history lovers. A place Pilgrim and learning enthusiasts will be proud to support and families will want to visit over and over again.
If we are to adhere to our charter of providing accurate and sensitive education about Provincetown, including its original inhabitants, the Wampanoag Nation, and the town’s true place in Pilgrim history, we have to make PMPM more accessible and easier to reach. While we cannot lower High Pole Hill, we can eliminate the daunting climb – a much needed first step on a necessary journey.
To learn more about the Bradford Access Project, check out this video, which includes renderings of what the inclined elevator and station will look like. To donate to the Bradford Access Project, please click here.