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FRAMINGHAM – Framingham Parks and Recreation is planning on opening only one beach this summer, due to COVID-19 and the high costs necessary to run the city’s three beaches, staff told the Framingham Parks & Recreation Commissioners on Wednesday night.

Trisha Powell, the Superintendent of Recreation, said at Wednesday night’s Parks and Recreation Commission meeting that “Learneds Beach is the likely possibility because of its size.”

Based on state guidelines, the City is only allowed to have 16 patron parking spots filled at a time at Learneds Pond.

Because of this, the Parks Department is looking into ways that this can be accomplished by studying other surrounding towns. The most likely scenario would be to have a reservation system, where families and individuals can reserve parking spots in the morning.

Similar to plans by other neighboring towns, the Parks & Rec Department is planning on only opening the reservation system to Framingham residents, and only allowing Framingham residents to attend the beach.

Powell cited concerns that residents from other towns could want to attend if the reservation system did not specify Framingham residents only.

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The biggest challenge that the Department is currently facing is how to keep social distancing on both the beach and in the water.

The Parks Department is planning to train multiple teams of lifeguards.

And then establishing a policy that if one lifeguard team member is sick, then the entire team would have to quarantine for the recommended 14 days.

In terms of beach rules, Parks & Recreation said that no grilling would be allowed and the picnic tables present would be removed.

Due to similar guidance on team sports, ball playing on the beach would also be prohibited.

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Framingham Parks & Recreation Director James Snyder told the Commissioner Wednesday night they are planning on taking it slowly and “if we’re not checking with everyone and not everything is a go, {they} are going to air on the side of caution”.

The goal is to open the beach sometime in July, he said Wednesday night.

The pre-COVID19 plan was to open the city’s three beaches by June 18.

The Department told Commissioner Wednesday night they need the additional time to train lifeguards.

The City of Framingham’s two other beaches are Lake Waushakum beach in District 8 and Saxonville Lake in District 2.

Massachusetts opened the state’s beaches on May 25, with specific guidelines. Click here to read those guidelines.

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Petroni Media Company file photo