For the first time since it opened 50 years ago, Bedford’s Springs Brook Park recreation area will not open for the summer.
The Recreation Commission Wednesday voted to recommend to the Select Board that the pond, beach, spray park and picnic area remain closed because there is not enough time to prepare the site and programs to accommodate limitations forced by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The commission, however, continues to leave the door open for state guidelines that would permit operation of the Summer Adventures day camp, as well as the reopening of the Kids Club child-care program.
Town Manager Sarah Stanton told the commission that she recently met with Recreation Director Amy Hamilton, Public Works Director David Manugian, and Health and Human Services Director Heidi Porter to review the prospects for Springs Brook Park.
They agreed that, even if current gathering guidelines are relaxed for the summer, “we don’t feel confident that we can put protocols in place in time.”
“I think we all see the writing on the wall,” said Recreation Commission Chair Robin Steele. She added that the commission fully supports reopening for 2021.
Hamilton said she has hired some lifeguards and other staff for the coming season. Member Ron Richter said he hopes they can be offered positions with Summer Adventures.
“We would like to hold off as long as we can on Summer Adventures,” Stanton said. It is hoped the governor’s office will provide guidelines for summer camps. Hamilton said she has engaged probably her strongest leadership team ever for Summer Adventures.
Also on hold is the reopening of the Kids Club child care program, currently closed because it was deemed non-essential by the state declaration of emergency. Kids Club is licensed by the state, and the town adheres to those guidelines.
Personnel decisions are made through the town human resources office, the town manager and recreation director, Steele explained. Stanton said full-time staff members continue to be paid; part-timers, mostly high-school students, will be furloughed, with the hope of rehiring them later.
Stanton said that child care is one of those government services that is needed “even in the worst times of recession. Hamilton noted that advanced registration is significantly higher than a year ago.
Hamilton also told the commission that even though refunds were provided to all who enrolled in canceled spring programs, the recreation revolving fund is still healthy.
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