Strong Villages – West Dennis To The Tens

Continuing the discussion of the Power of Ten and how it applies to Dennis, I will next turn my attention to the village of West Dennis.  West Dennis provides a number of activity centers, both public and private.  The discussion of West Dennis will start in the heart of the village, and work its way around to the West Dennis Waterfront, thereby starting with one of the two bookends, and finishing with the other.

All Access Playground

The West Dennis Village Center does not have a public park in the fashion of the Mike Stacey Park in Dennisport – but does have the Bass River Park which is discussed later.  The Village hosts a newly reconstructed playground in the All Access Playground.  This playground provides recreational opportunities for children of all abilities.  This playground was reconstructed by volunteers and supported by funding from the Community Preservation Act awarded to the towns Disabilities Committee.  President-elect Obama has noted in his Urban Policy Plan that “less than half of our country’s children have a playground within walking distance of their homes.”  The Urban Policy Plan goes on to note that the “lack of a safe place to walk and play is a major contributor to the growing numbers of overweight children.”  The West Dennis Village Center, with a significant residential component, has exactly what the President-elect finds lacking in most villages.

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West Dennis Graded School House

The West Dennis Graded School House ties the present and future of the village to its past.  The West Dennis Graded School House is a major activity center within the scope of the Power of Ten discussion.  The building serves as a function hall, meeting place and voting site.  A variety of activities take place in this building, including public meetings of town committees, Girl Scouts meetings, Garden Club meetings and many other organizations.  The School House is immediately adjacent to the All Access Playground, allowing for dual purpose trips.

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West Dennis Post Office

The West Dennis Post Office is located within the heart of the Village, anchoring the prime commercial area with the West Dennis Graded School House on one side of the commercial area and the Post Office on the opposite side of the commercial.  The Post Office is one of the busiest sites in West Dennis.  Post Office’s are also vital parts of any village.  In West Dennis, the Post Office remains in the same building it has been located in for many years.

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Library

The West Dennis Village Center hosts the West Dennis Free Public Library.  As The Power of Ten discussion points out, a strong, active Library is a critical piece of a vital village.    This library is open a significant number of hours year round.  It provides a wide variety of activities for children and adults.  Activities which draw people to the library, and therefor the village on a recurring basis, include Children’s Story Hour, a book club and Mah Jongg.  The West Dennis Free Public Library also offers computer classes and special speakers.

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Churches

Churches are vital aspects of villages.  They constitute major activity centers with a very loyal constituency who return on a regular basis.  West Dennis is home to the West Dennis Community Church.  This church hosts activities through-out the year for children and adults.  The church also hosts a consignment shop

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Outdoor Dining/Other Restaurants

Moving into private activity centers, West Dennis is blessed with a number of properties with opportunities for outdoor dining.  These include Good Friend’s Cafe in the Village Center, Marathon Seafood in the Village Support Area, and Sundancer’s on the waterfront.  Each of these areas serve a distinctly different market segment, thereby bringing a number of people to the village at different hours of the day and evening.  Beyond the outdoor dining experience discussed in the Power of Ten discussion, there are several other food service establishments with both a regular returning clientele as well as a strong seasonal draw.  These include O’Shea’s Olde Inn and the Royal Palace Restaurant.

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Lodging

The Power of Ten discussion leaves much of the ideas of what makes a place special to the imagination of the reader.  A major activity center for West Dennis is its lodging attractions.  The Village of the West Dennis Village is distinctly different from Dennisport.  The village has a strong tourist economy.  The strength of the tourist economy is tied to the strength of its lodging facilities.  The village boasts both upscale Bed and Breakfast facilities as well as Hotel Facilities.  Bed and Breakfasts such as Cape Cod Victorian Inn (also known as Cobblestone’s) and the Crow’s Nest provide quaint attractive facilities in “historic” village settings.  In addition, there are several other hotel style lodging facilities including the Travelodge and Barnacle Motels.

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Bass River Park

The bookend activity center to the Village Center will be, upon its completion, Bass River Park.  The Power of Ten report starts right out recognizing the importance of parks to villages.  Bass River Park serves as the Gateway to Dennis and when completed will welcome everyone to West Dennis.  The park currently includes a small public landing for boat launches, marina space and kayak rentals.  The design plan calls for enhancing these activities with walkways, restrooms and picnic areas.

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Bass River Park Design by Stoss for Bass River Park Committee

Bass River Park Design by Stoss for Bass River Park Committee

West Dennis as a village has many attractive components to bring people to, and encourage them to return to, the village.  The public buildings and lands while attractions in their own right, are supplemented by many private facilities intended to draw people to, and have them stay in, the village.  The existing facilities are supported by recently adopted zoning which reinforces the village land pattern.

The Village of West Dennis clearly illustrates at least ten strong activity centers represented in the Power of Ten .

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