Improvise, Adapt, Overcome
No, this isn’t an episode of Man vs. Wild (exactly), since we local Cape Codders have slightly more than a knife and some flint to help us survive. But, in many ways our current conditions are at odds with community needs: housing, wastewater, healthcare, and our economy are a few of the complex challenges that face our beloved sandbar.
Since we don’t want to decimate our fragile environment, and we can’t create more land, the options remaining are truly to improvise and adapt. Increasingly, we’re seeing towns and private entities choosing to repurpose existing, obsolete properties into something more in line with the community’s needs.
What becomes of a driving range, motel, summer camp, or commercial complex after it shuts down? For towns and companies with vision, these places are prime opportunities to address urgent concerns in locations close to transportation, jobs, and services. Having different uses clustered together is an old concept regaining popularity. Being able to ditch the car and walk from home to work, a restaurant, or a park is not just a convenience, but a lifestyle that appeals to a wide range of people.
T-Time, Town Center Plaza, the Governor Prence, the Underground Mall, and the former Cape Cod Sea Camps are efforts from Eastham to Brewster to create housing units, provide essential services, expand recreational offerings, preserve natural assets, and bolster local economies, all in already-developed areas. Even the Cape Cod Mall has sought zoning changes to allow on-site housing, in an effort to change with the times and the community’s needs. Each of these projects is in a different stage of completion, so follow along and participate in the processes if you can!
Adaptation and a strong sense of community have long been hallmarks of local Cape life. So while projects like these might seem new and daunting, they’re very much in line with our spirit of overcoming obstacles: trying something new so we can hold onto the things that make this place unique.