Letter to the Editor, January 16, 2017: Save Springs Brook Park, Our Community’s Gem

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By Julie Halloran

Seven years ago, my husband and I were new parents, living in Waltham, and searching for ways to enjoy the summer with an infant. A friend recommended a fun and safe destination nearby: Springs Brook Park. We instantly fell in love, not only with the old-fashioned family swimming hole, but with the town of Bedford itself, and we set our sights on moving here.

The Recreation Commission may vote on Springs Brook Park’s 2017 season at their meeting on Tuesday, January 17 at 7:00pm in the Lower Level Conference Room at Town Hall. If you cannot attend but would like to voice your support, please email Recreation Commission Chairman Ron Richter before the meeting at this link: http://www.bedfordma.gov/users/rrichter/contact

Seven years later, we have added two more children to our brood, moved to our ‘forever’ home in Bedford, and Springs Brook Park is in imminent danger of closing. This breaks my heart. Bedford is a town that is growing by the day: drawing in more and more young families with our excellent school system, close-knit community and commuter-friendly location. We should be supporting and investing in the aspects of our community that serves this growing population, and instead we are letting them fade quietly away.

I know many of the families who have raised their kids in Bedford have fond memories of summers at Springs Brook Park – their kids learning to swim in the pond area, meeting friends on the next towel over who might be in their class that fall, running around the playground area and cooling off with a slush treat at the snack bar. It’s more than a pool, it’s a meeting space for the community, and a chance to come together.

Two years ago, the decision was made to allow walk-in access to Bedford residents only. While non-residents could still buy seasonal memberships, the action ensured that the people attending the park had a vested interest in keeping it safe, clean and friendly. This move once again brought Springs Brook Park up to the level that many residents remember, yet it drastically reduced the amount of income the park takes in. In order to continue to operate as a Bedford-focused community gem, the park needs the support of the town and its residents. We have to make the decision that the park is not an income-generating business, but a service to Bedford’s many young families.

This Tuesday, the Recreation Commission will be voting on the future of Springs Brook Park. They will either make the decision to face the challenge of a deficit and continue to run the park for the benefit of Bedford families, or they will choose to close the park. I am asking all Springs Brook Park families – current, past and future – to come to the open Recreation Committee meeting on Tuesday, January 17th to voice your support for Springs Brook Park and for the generations of Bedford kids who should be able to enjoy it. Together, we can show the Recreation Commission that this is a town treasure worth fighting for.