By Julie McCay Turner
After several years of concerns over water clarity and the ensuing safety issues, Bedford’s Recreation Commission has announced changes for Springs Brook Park’s 2015 season.
The changes are intended as an interim step to protect the Park’s status as Bedford’s beloved recreation destination, while awaiting the results of a soon-to-be-undertaken feasibility study into the hydrology of Springs Brook and the park’s eventual, optimal use.
The changes are also intended to afford sufficient time each week for the sand to settle.
Springs Brook Park’s History
Located in a formerly swampy area fed by underground springs, Springs Brook Park came into being thanks to the leadership and foresight of Bedford’s late Recreation Director Frank Bauman.
With the addition of a sand beach, a picnic grove, a spray park and playground for small children, along with a concession stand with rest room and changing facilities, the original ‘dug pond’ has become a popular destination.
In discussing options for the 2015 season earlier this year, the Recreation Commission debated closing the Park and replacing it with a swimming pool. The idea of a pool was raised by the Commission during the same October Selectman’s meeting when a report from Bedford’s National Citizen’s Survey was presented, stating that 72% of those responding to supported the concept of a pool. (https://www.thebedfordcitizen.org/2014/10/22/is-a-swimming-pool-bubbling-up-in-bedfords-future/)
The Interim Plan
“Our biggest goal,” said Recreation Director Amy Hamilton, “is to keep Springs Brook Park alive as a recreation destination for Bedford’s families.”
Recreation Commission chairman Ron Richter agreed. “The [Recreation] Commission wants to make Springs Brook Park a highly-valued destination for the residents of Bedford, a destination that attracts users with different recreation aspirations,” continued Richter, “a place that children and adults covet year round, while initially addressing summer recreation.”
“Additional amenities might appeal to different age groups,” added Caroline Fedele, Selectman liaison to the Recreation Commission. “[There might be] connectivity to the town’s trails system, lights, a pavilion, or tennis courts.
“I am happy that we are going to be able to keep the park open this summer,” she continued. “Many families have asked for that, and I am glad we found this compromise. Looking ahead, we have a wonderful opportunity to build on what is great at Springs Brook, and add amenities that Bedford residents want. The future of Springs Brook Park is exciting, and Mr. Bauman would be proud!”
Reduced hours and a change in use patterns are expected to help address the water clarity issues by creating time for sediment to settle over the weekend, ensuring smooth weekday operations for swimming lessons and use by the Recreation Department’s Summer Adventures day camp.
According to a message on the Recreation Department’s website, the park “will be open Monday through Friday and closed on the weekends with the exception of Saturday, July 4 when the park will be open to Bedford residents, members and their guests.”
Lap lanes will be open to adults early on weekday mornings, with the possible addition of a Pilates class on the beach. For young families, the ‘blue’ portion of the pond will remain open.
According to the Department’s web site, “The deeper end of the pond will be used exclusively for swim lessons and summer Recreation Department programs.”
Hamilton said these moves are intended to limit the last-minute closure of various sections of the pond, which occurred in past seasons, when these areas became too murky to use.
The spray park, playground, tether ball, sand volleyball courts, half-court basketball court, picnic grove, concession stand and rest facilities will be available when the park is open.
Additional amenities are under consideration for 2015 including a small mini-golf course and a backboard for tennis practice, or playing “wall ball.”
2015 Admission Rates
The Park’s individual and family memberships for 2015, as well as the daily rate for Bedford residents, will be set soon.
Information about membership,swim lessons, and registration for the Recreation Department’s Summer Adventures programs will be included in the Summer Brochure that will be available both in print and online in late Februaryor early March.
Director Hamilton noted, “Think of the thousands of people who have fond memories of their summers at Springs Brook Park. We just want to get back there.”