Olk Klaverack Santaa

Time for everybody to get out of the pond


CHATHAM—The Town Board voted to close the Crellin Park waterfront from swimming at a special meeting July 9. All the board members at the meeting, held on a video conference, voted Yes to the motion to keep the town waterfront closed. Councilman John Wapner was the only board member not at the online meeting.

Crellin Park beach is currently closed to swimmers. Photo by Emiia Teasdale

The board had planned to have the pond open for swimming starting July 11, but due to concerns with adequately staffing the site, board members decided it would not be safe to open. Town Recreation Director Mike West said at the meeting that he was concerned about staffing and a policy for weekly testing of staff.

Mr. West said there was some “discomfort” and “unavailability of staff given that policy.” He also said that the majority of the staff were “very okay” with the testing policy.

Councilman Kevin Weldon said that he felt the board members had agreed that the only responsible way to move forward with opening the swimming area was to have weekly testing of staff.

Of closing the waterfront, Councilwoman Abi Mesick said, “This is unfortunate, but I think it’s wise.”

The board had voted at a meeting on June 25 to open the waterfront, but they also said they would be reviewing the policies on reopening and could make changes.

Posted on the town’s website is a statement saying, in part, “Although an attempt was made by the Town of Chatham to open swimming for the public at Crellin Park, the logistics of safely and appropriately staffing this activity during the Covid Pandemic have made it unachievable. We have thus decided to close swimming at the waterfront for the season. Debating and finally deciding to make such a decision is not easy and is done with heavy hearts.”

The board went on to discuss, as Councilman Vance Pitkin said, ways to “more permanently” close off the waterfront. They discussed signs and barriers at the pond.

‘This is unfortunate, but I think it’s wise.’

Councilwoman Abi Mesick

Chatham Town Board

The next Town Board meeting was scheduled for July 16 at 6:30 p.m. Meeting information will be on the town’s website at www.chathamnewyork.us

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email eteasdale@columbiapaper.com

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