The town of East Lyme is planning ahead for what could be a massive influx of visitors this summer when word gets out that the once-overlooked Amtrak beach is now the size of Rocky Neck's.
East Lyme Police Department's budget for the coming fiscal year includes a request for three 2012 Polaris All-Terrain Vehicles and one 2012 Yamaha jet ski, with a trailer and a Coast Guard safety pack.
Given the length of the newly-expanded beach and traffic congestion over the Niantic River Bridge during the summer, East Lyme Resident State Trooper Sgt. Wilfred Blanchette said the fastest way to respond to any emergency at Cini Park and the beach would be from the police station via the beach itself.
"We could be anywhere on the shoreline within minutes with [the ATVs and the jet ski]," Blanchette said.
The cost of the new equipment will be covered by a $29,000 grant from the Nuclear Safety Emergency Program Fund, Blanchette told the East Lyme Board of Selectmen during his budget presentation on Wednesday. The Selectmen voted in favor of the purchase, which will now go to the Board of Finance for approval.
"I applaud the forethought," said Selectman Rob Wilson. "I think Park and Rec is going to need a couple more of these."
East Lyme Park and Recreation's proposed budget already includes requests for new vehicles to help maintain the new beach, which will be the largest in town. To groom the beach, the department is asking for a surf rake, Infield Pro, and a 65 horsepower tractor to pull it, along with a new pickup truck.
These items are included in the budget proposed by East Lyme First Selectman Paul Formica.
The town, meanwhile, is moving forward with its plans to revamp Cini Park and build permanent bathroom facilities on the site. Last night the Zoning Commission heard a request from the town for a Coastal Area Management Review for the expansion of the parking lot and construction of public bathrooms.