Summer time at the beach. Laughter. Umbrellas. Families enjoying lunch seated at picnic tables. In a busy world full of distractions, sitting down to have face to face time with family and neighbors provides valuable bonding.
Take a stroll down the boardwalk in on any given day, you’ll see people congregating around the picnic tables engaged in conversation or sharing a meal. A good indicator of the social benefit provided by something as simple as a wooden bench.
State Government and California Coastal Commission thoughts on this issue are important however, benches on the beach should be a Seal Beach community focused discussion. If we defer to the decision makers at the state level, we risk dismantling one of our towns most basic social mechanisms.
The attraction of owning a Seal Beach home in Old Town is access to Main Street, family oriented neighborhoods and the beach along with all of its amenities. What message is being sent to potential home buyers when somgething as fundamental as picnic benches are being threatened for removal?
Having lived in Seal Beach my entire life, there has never been a time when I have seen neighbors dispute the use of the benches. In fact all my memories were quite the opposite, the benches bring neighbors together. It’s a small part of what makes home ownership in our community so appealing.
Seth Eaker, speaking at the May 13th council meeting on behalf of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce, made a great suggestion about the city finding a way to create a public/private partnership that would allow people to invest in the beach. If there is further push back to remove the benches, I think this idea of a partnership needs to be explored as a real solution to keeping benches on the beach.
Perhaps an ad-hoc committee could be created with a focus on current and new ways to improve public spaces to encourage community relationship building. The committee could function in a proactive way to preserve and encourage the use of public spaces such as the Seal Beach boardwalk and its benches.
I’m interested to hear if you feel the benches create a sense of community and what you propose as a solution. Leave your thoughts to this question in the comment section below.