REC DEPT. ANNOUNCES DETAILS FOR WRIGHT’S POND, TUFTS POOL

http://www.medfordma.org/2020/06/23/rec-dept-announces-details-for-wrights-pond-tufts-pool/

MEDFORD RECREATION ANNOUNCES DETAILS FOR WRIGHT’S POND, TUFTS POOL FOR SUMMER 2020 SEASON
New policies, operating hours in place due to Covid-19.

MEDFORD – The Medford Recreation Department announced this week its plans for operations at Wright’s Pond and Tufts Pool, noting that hours of operation and availability of day passes have changed for the 2020 summer season to ensure proper Covid-19 health and safety regulations are in place.

“I would like to thank the Recreation Director, Kevin Bailey and the Recreation Department for working tirelessly to make sure that Wright’s Pond and Tufts Pool will open for the summer. Coming up with a plan that adheres to all state orders and all health and safety guidelines has been very difficult,” said Medford Mayor Breanna Lungo-Koehn. “To keep the Pond and Pool running safely and efficiently, including staff and resources, we rely partially on the rates collected for daily use. With challenging health and safety regulations now in place, and the financial difficulties these may present, some cities and towns are choosing not to open their public pools and beaches at all. Medford is committed to providing these valuable recreational resources for residents, but we still have to make sure all visitors and staff are safe and remain healthy. Kevin and the entire Recreation Department have been working with the Medford Board of Health and other departments to put plans in place to open the pond and pool this summer, with new regulations, and I am grateful for all of their work to make these available for residents this year.”

While plans and regulations are subject to change, please note the following updates from the Recreation Department, and please bear with us as we work to ensure health and safety of all users. You can also visit www.medfordrecreation.org for details on each location and to purchase passes.

WRIGHT’S POND (anticipated opening date: July 1st)

Wright’s Pond is much different in size than a typical public beach, which puts constraints on the capacity limits, unfortunately, given current state regulations. While we have received some great ideas on ways to reduce occupancy or ways to fairly distribute visitation, some of these ideas do not work within our operating system. Like many other recreation departments, we are using permitting and ticketing software in a different way than the system was originally created for. Our vendor is working hard to meet some of the new requests but is limited in how much can be changed before the beginning of the summer.

Medford currently only has 24 lifeguards for both locations. While we begin recruiting lifeguards in February, due to Covid-19 and related restrictions, lifeguard class has been and continues to not be allowed to be taught. This limits us to only hiring returning lifeguards for this season. Lifeguards are going to be asked to clean on a regular basis and wear face coverings during their entire shift, which will be tough to do in the heat. The allotted hour to clean between shifts is also an opportunity for staff to take a much-needed break.

Regrettably, while updating the Medford Recreation website and uploading documents, some of the information was posted on social media, leading to many questions. Our intentions were to create the information on the website and to email previous pass holders with additional information. Our intent was to be clear and transparent about our process, only after we had additional plans in place. We apologize for any miscommunication. We will continue to notify the general public, and communicate via email with previous passholders, with any other changes.

We have listened to your concerns and appreciate your feedback. Based on some of your suggestions, we have already changed the following:

  1. We have changed the schedule to allow for evening use. Three days a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday), the pond with have two shifts, 12:30-3:30 p.m. and 4:30-7:30 p.m. The other days (Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday), the pond will be open for two different shifts, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. and 2:30-5:30 p.m. We hope the later evenings will help accommodate working parents, along with allowing other days to open early morning for our seniors and stay at home parents who have expressed the wish to have the pond open earlier in the day.
  2. While developing a plan for pass sales, our original plan was to have a discounted rate for children and seniors. At the time, this was not possible. Mr. Bailey, along with other Recreation Directors who belong to the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association, are using the same software and approach to selling pond or pool passes. As an Association, the request to discount prices based on age was given to the software company. Working with Recreation Directors to address this new need, the software company has just recently released that they were able to create this new feature. With this new option, we will be changing our fees to $4 per adult, $2 per child and $3 per senior. Children under the age of 4 will be free. This fee structure has been chosen as they are the same daily fee used at Tufts Pool last year and has been voted by the Parks Commission. The reason for the initial $5 per person was based on the revenue loss and the city’s financial situation. Last year, we sold $57,000 in vehicle passes. $5 per person would have brought in a maximum of $25,000 creating a larger deficit than the pond usually endures from previous years. Recreation will look for other revenue producing solutions to help cover the additional loss in revenue.
  3. As with previous years, we are working with the Medford Family Network to support families that cannot afford the daily fee. To inquire about that assistance program, you can call the Medford Family Network at (781) 393-2106 or email mcassidy@medford.k12.ma.us.
  4. Unfortunately, this cannot be a season as prior years have been where families can visit every day. Due to the fact we are still in a pandemic and have capacity limitations, this is meant to give families an opportunity to visit the pond occasionally. We ask that when booking during the first week you only book three slots to allow for as many residents as possible to have the opportunity to visit. Passes will then go one sale each Monday for the following week. We hope this will allow those who do not have access to a computer and must rely on the telephone, will continue to have an equal opportunity to make reservations. When booking by phone please call (781) 393-2486.

TUFTS POOL (anticipated opening date: July 7th)

Tufts Pool will have similar restrictions but has a different schedule and daily fee structure to help give residents different options they feel is best for them. The pool will be open Tuesday-Sunday from 12:30 to 2:00 p.m., or 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., or 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. With shorter swim times, fees to use the pool are 50% less than Wright’s Pond. The fees will be as follows: Adult $2 | Child & Senior $1. While the pool is open to both Medford residents and non-Medford residents, passes for Medford residents will be offered at a lower rate.

The pool must be closed on Mondays as the Covid-19 guidelines require the Recreation Director to increase the chlorine (shock) the pool each week. Additional maintenance and cleaning will be performed on Mondays as well.

Adult Lap swim, camps, and programming will not be scheduled this year. Lap swim will be available at the Medford High School Pool when the state moves into Phase III. Lap Swim will continue to be offered at Wright’s Pond.

The pool will be rented to swim teams as allowed under phase II for youth sports. These rentals are to help offset the loss in revenue this year from aquatic programs and membership fees at the pool and pond. We will only be renting to times the facility was closed to the public in previous years.

  1. Financial aid will continue to be offered through Medford Family Network. To inquire about that assistance program, you can call the Medford Family Network at (781) 393-2106 or email mcassidy@medford.k12.ma.us.

The Recreation Department and the Mayor’s Office would like to thank Medford residents for their continued support and understanding as we navigate through these difficult times. As the Mayor and Recreation Director both have families and young children, we share with you the frustration this pandemic has created and the disappointment when we continue to see our normal routine disrupted. Our mission has been and will continue to be to keep our facilities open while maintaining a safe environment and keeping the city financially stable. 

For additional information, visit www.medfordrecreation.org, or see flyers below.

Medford city services are available to all residents, regardless of economic situation, race, gender, immigration status, ability, benefit eligibility, or religious affiliation.  

Source: City of Medford, http://www.medfordma.org/2020/06/23/rec-dept-announces-details-for-wrights-pond-tufts-pool/

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