Originally posted at 4:15 p.m. Updated at 5:40 p.m. with press release statement from the Mayor.
FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Parks and Recreation Director James Synder said he does not want to close Lake Waushakum beach.
He said, he was asked to submit a 1 percent budget reduction, but said it was his understanding that the reduction would not happen.
“Lake Waushakum Beach will be open,” said Synder to Source this afternoon. “There will be lifeguards at that beach.”
Last Tuesday, Mayor Yvonne Spicer submitted her budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 to the 11-member City Council for approval. Included in that budget was line items for a 1 percent reduction in the Parks & Recreation budget.
One of the 1 percent reductions was the elimination of lifeguards at Lake Waushakum, and closing the beach at a cost of about $38,000. (See screen shot below of the budget.)
Today, during a Framingham Council on Aging meeting Spicer said “No one’s budget has been cut.”
“Departments were asked to think of their budget if they had to have a 1 percent cut,” the Mayor said.
“Waushakum Pond is not closed. That has not been decided,” said Spicer, who said she “used to go to Lake Waushakum and write my lesson plans. I love that Pond. I love that Pond.”
“All of our City beaches are treasures to the community. Waushakum Beach is a valuable amenity for our residents. Community members can be assured that Waushakum Beach will remain open for the full season,” said Mayor Spicer, in a press release after 5:35 p.m.
Municipal departments were required to prepare two budget requests, a level service budget and a 1% reduction. Based upon the 1% reduction proposal, the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division submitted a statement in their budget background material of a potential last priority cost reduction by closing Waushakum Beach. This proposal was not accepted by the Mayor, wrote Nichol Figueiredo, Framingham’s public information 0fficer & webmaster. “Waushakum Beach will not be closed, all City beaches will remain open for the full season.”
Members of the City Council’s finance subcommittee questioned Synder over the weekend, about the beaches line item in the budget, submitted to them by the Mayor. The City of Framingham has three public beaches – Saxonville Lake, Learneds Pond, and Lake Waushakum. Beach passes are required to access the beach.
Synder said he was not sure why there was confusion with his budget and the beaches.
He said today that the budget City Councilors were looking at was not the same budget he had. He said some of the numbers were different, including an increase in funding for Mary Dennison Park upgrades, was not part of the budget City Councilors had.