Jenness Beach bathhouse opens

The state recently finished work on a new $1.2 million bathhouse at Jenness State Beach in Rye.

RYE — A new $1.2 million bathhouse at Jenness State Beach opened just in time for the busy summer season and is expected to improve the experience for visitors much like the state’s revitalization of Hampton Beach State Park eight years ago.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held Friday to celebrate the bathhouse, which officially opened on May 24 to replace one built in 1980.

The bathhouse is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day until Labor Day and offers more amenities with changing rooms, a rinse-off shower and a family bathroom.

The building’s design is similar to the facilities at Hampton Beach State Park and North Hampton State Beach.

Jenness State Beach, which is located at 2280 Ocean Blvd., is one of five state park beaches along New Hampshire’s coastline.

Work on the new bathhouse began in November and was completed on time and on budget, according to Brent Wucher, public information and marketing officer for the state Department of Parks and Recreation.

To fund the project, the state took $1 million from the capital budget and another $200,000 from Parks and Recreation funds, Wucher said.

“This is a great example of how strategic investments from the capital budget complement our operationally self-funded park system. Improving our facilities enhances visitor experiences which directly correlates to the success of our outdoor recreation economy,” said Sarah Stewart, commissioner of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

The new bathhouse follows the state’s $14.5 million redevelopment project down Route 1-A at Hampton Beach. That work included a major facelift with a new Seashell stage and bathhouses.

John Nyhan, president of the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce, applauded the state’s effort to keep the architectural design similar at the state’s beaches.

“I’m very supportive of this type of capital improvement by the state parks and the state of New Hampshire,” Nyhan said.

Since the revitalization along Hampton Beach, Nyhan said private property owners have invested more than $140 million in improvements along the west side of Ocean Boulevard and other side streets.

“That’s not counting all of the town improvements, from the sewerage to the new fire station and other new infrastructure. It’s a significant amount of improvement, a lot of which benefits the town and a lot of which benefits the state of New Hampshire through meals and rooms taxes,” he said.

While it’s been several years since the work was completed at Hampton Beach, Nyhan said he still hears visitors commenting on the improvements. He said he recently spoke with someone from North Conway who visited for the first time since the project and spoke about how much she liked the improved facilities and the cleanliness of the bathrooms.

Ryan McGill, owner of Summer Sessions Surf Shop, which sits across the street from Jenness State Beach, was happy with the renovations.

“We appreciate Gov. Chris Sununu listening to local residents to make some needed changes. It looks good,” he said.