NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Tyler Chrabaszcz wasn’t too happy to see closed signs and a locked gate at Spaulding Pond Tuesday morning.
“Pretty disappointing,” said Chrabaszcz.
He had hoped to bring his son swimming on the first sunny day in days.
“It would have been nice cause he loves the water,” said Chrabaszcz.
Usually the pond opens around June 15th but because the city didn’t pass its budget until the twelfth no lifeguards were hired in time for the traditional opening.
“One hesitation for the city council in Norwich was being uncertain about what kind of revenue the city was going to receive so they had these different scenarios,” said Lee Ann Gomes, the Director of Norwich Human Services who also overseas the city’s recreation department.
Among the scenarios the council considered was cutting seasonal park maintenance workers and not opening the city’s only outdoor swimming hole. In the end, the seasonal workers were out but the city dove in and will open the beach which is free to the public.
“It saves parents a lot of money and they can come here and have a picnic and sit at the beach,” said Chrabaszcz.
But now the recreation department is searching for qualified candidates to make that happen.
“A lot of the lifeguards who we wanted to hire who had worked for us in the past took jobs with other rec departments or other beaches because they couldn’t be uncertain about their summer schedule,” said Gomes.
Applicants need to be at least 17 and a half years old and Red Cross certified. The city needs to hire at least five lifeguards to get the gates open.
“It should be open to the public and it’s hot,” said one woman walking in the park. “Where else are you gonna go?”
Robin Jablonski, who makes regular stops in the park with her Robin’s Ice Cream Truck, would also like to see the beach open for the season. She says if the beach was open she’d have more customers.
“Oh definitely, definitely we would,” said Jablonski.
For the first time this year, the city will be offering swimming lessons at Spaulding Pond. It has a grant to pay for half so it would probably cost about 40 dollars for the six week course.
If a student can’t afford to pay, the city does have scholarships available.
For more information on that and updates as to when the beach will open, you can log onto the city’s website.