HAVERHILL — The city’s summer destination for sun and fun is now open for the summer. The Plug Pond recreational area and beach is ready to accommodate the expected crowds of youngsters and adults who flock there each year to swim, get a tan, have a picnic and simply enjoy beautiful summer days without the hassle of driving to the beach.
The city’s only public beach is now open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., said Vincent Ouellette, Haverhill’s human services director who oversees recreation. Lifeguards are on duty during operating hours, he said.
The pond water is tested weekly and the latest test showed that it met or exceeded standards set by the city’s Board of Health, Ouellette said.
The area is popular for many reasons, Ouellette said.
“It’s picturesque, the water is clean and clear and warm compared to the ocean, and parents feel it’s safe because their children are always in view,” Ouellette said. “And there is ample space for children to run around within the picnic area and along the edge of the pond, where some children enjoy catching minnows.”
Recreational vehicles with gas-powered motors are not allowed, which is a restriction that helps keep pollutants out of the water, as does the minimal number of homes that were built around the pond, Ouellette said.
Lake Saltonstall, known locally as Plug Pond, is fed by underground springs resulting in a clean lake, Ouellette said, noting that water quality is important, and so is keeping the shoreline, trails and parking area free of debris and trash.
In preparation for its June 20 opening, staff members along with DPW workers and community service workers provided through the trial court system worked for several weeks getting the area ready.
“We filled potholes on the road leading to the park, picked up leaves and debris along the fence line and throughout the park, mowed and swept the entire area, painted the bath house floor, upgraded all of the lighting in the bath house, repaired all broken benches and picnic tables and painted them, and we brought in about 20 tons of new sand, which allowed us to increase the width of the beach,” Ouellette said.