The new Hull ArtWalk opened this month with nine sea-themed murals — eight on large wooden panels and one on the side of a building — lining a narrow path that winds between Nantasket Avenue and George Washington Boulevard, near the entrance to this peninsula town.
The walkway, once part of a go-cart track at the long defunct Paragon Park, had been closed for decades. Officials hope it will link the business areas on Steamboat Wharf and Nantasket Beach.
“The Hull ArtWalk will breathe new life into a vacant, underutilized area along Hull’s impressive waterfront,” MassDevelopment president and CEO Lauren Liss said in a statement when the agency awarded $25,000 toward the $50,000 project. “In addition to creating and encouraging pedestrian access between two key commercial corridors, the ArtWalk will also provide new space for Hull’s creative economy to flourish.”
“I am really happy with the way it turned out, and I think the community is as well,” said Selectwoman Jennifer Constable, who helped coordinate the project. She said about 200 people came to the ribbon-cutting on Sept. 4.
Constable said she’s particularly pleased to see people using the walkway, and stopping to write on a chalkboard with a sign that asks, “What makes you happy?”
What makes Constable most happy is the thought that as more people discover the ArtWalk, they will realize that they can park in an often empty, state-owned parking lot off George Washington Boulevard, and get to the beach without going all the way around the block.
The block got a little shorter this summer when a section of the old arcade building on Nantasket Avenue — right behind the ArtWalk — was demolished.
In 2017, developer Chris Reale bought the entire 3.5-acre block that ran from the mini-golf course down to Dalat restaurant and has been renovating it. He said the now empty space will be filled with “an open-air, seasonal boardwalk with games, activities, and food and beverage options.”
Reale said he wants to open the new, roughly 3,000-square-feet multilevel “Boardwalk” in the spring of 2020. Plans include a central multi-use sand court and a stage, as well as space in modified storage containers for food vendors and shops.
A section geared toward kids will feature a treehouse and climbing structures, he said.
He envisions the completed area “as a hangout for the community and visitors that will host a steady calendar of events.”
Reale said the team behind the project includes local musician Aldous Collins and hospitality industry veteran Jim Hodgdon.
“Everything that we have incorporated into this project seeks to foster and grow a sense of community in a fun and engaging environment for everyone,” Hodgdon said. “Vacation does not have to mean jumping on a plane to parts unknown, and we are striving to provide maximum fun and entertainment at a good value.”
Johanna Seltz can be reached at email@example.com.