Editor’s Note: report was updates on July 5 and again on July 8.
FRAMINGHAM – A petition has started calling for more Southside voices on the Parks & Recreation Commission, after four of the five Framingham Commissioners refused to open the Southside beach in May.
Three of the five Commissioners have terms that end on July 1, 2022, according to the petitioner and the City’s website.
UPDATED: However, in July, the City’s website was update to show that only two of the five commissioner’s terms end on June 30, 2022. The City updated the website to show that David Gudejko’s term does not end until June 30, 2023 and not 2022.
The petition, which was written before the website was updated, seeks the Mayor to appoint 3 new voices to the Parks & Recreation Commission, after only one Commissioner wanted to open the Southside beach in May.
The Mayor is expected to nominate two individuals to the Commission by July 15. The City Council will need to vote on the nominations within 30 days.
“The Framingham Parks & Rec Commission needs a shake up,” wrote the author of the petition Millie Staton, whom SOURCE reached out to but did not hear back from over the long holiday weekend. “A good Commissioner should seek equity for all Framingham residents. This includes equity in access to and use and building of parks and recreation. They should also hold Parks & Recreation accountable and expect full transparency and openness with the commission and all of the public.”
The petition states “During the May 11, 2022, Parks & Rec Commission meeting member Shannon Stevens made a motion to open the gates at Waushakum Beach. Waushakum is the only beach in the city regularly secured by a 6 foot fence and padlocks. Waushakum Beach is the only public waterfront facility serving the south side. The motion by Stevens was for a single day, when temps were expected to soar to nearly 100 degrees, in the most ethnically diverse, socioeconomically disadvantaged part of the city. In May, a heat wave like this – would hurt this area more than others, as central air – isn’t commonplace, and window air-conditioners aren’t typically installed yet. A place to be outside, wade in water, cool off – is a public health need. No other commissioners supported that motion. No other commissioners represent the south side.”
“Three commissioners have terms which ended on July 1. One is assumed to be not reapplying, while two others David Gudejko and Tony Tolson – are expected to reapply and be appointed, unless the south side residents demand change. There are three south side residents who have applied to sit on the commission and represent the people of South Side Framingham,” noted the petition. “We implore Mayor Sisitsky and City Council to select the better and more diverse, passionate and representative candidates for the Parks & Rec Commission.”
As of July 8, the petition now has more than 200 signatures.