EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 18, 2011

Swimming spots starting to close for the season

By Jonathan Phelps

Kids were jumping off the dock into the water and playing in the sand at Stevens Pond in North Andover yesterday afternoon.

But this is a summer scene that will last for only about five more days at the popular recreation area off Pleasant Street. The pond is scheduled to close Wednesday.

"It was supposed to close on Friday, but we are extending it to Wednesday," said Rick Gorman, North Andover's youth services director.

Gorman said the pond typically closes around Aug. 20 each year because most of the lifeguards are college students returning the school. He said he had the staffing available to stay open about a week later this year.

"The weather has been great and the numbers have been great," said Gorman. "We think it has been a very successful season."

While summer officially continues until Sept. 22, Gorman said most swimming spots close this time of year.

Pomps Pond in Andover closed Sunday, three weeks before the start of school. The pond opened for the season on June 18.

Mary Montbleau, community services director, said the schedule was adjusted a few years ago to close in mid-August because most of the staff are college students. The department will consider looking into ways to expand the parking lot in the future. Most spots in the lot were filled most days this summer forcing staffers to park at nearby Recreation Park, she said.

"We had a fantastic season," she said. "It is great people are using the resources."

Forest Lake in Methuen is slated to close Sunday, said Recreation Director Bill Pare.

The summer fun will continue at Haverhill's Plug Pond at least until Haverhill Public Schools are back in session, according to Cathy Wolf, the program coordinator for the city's Recreation Department.

She said the city would like to keep the swimming area open until after Labor Day every year, but it looks like the last day will be Aug. 29, she said.

"It all depends on the staff and when school starts," Wolf said. "As of right now, I have enough staff to take me until Aug. 29."

No swimming has been allowed at Berry Pond in Harold Parker State Forest. The pond was unstaffed in 2009 due to funding and has not been reopened, according S.J. Port, a spokeswoman for the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"The area is no longer a designated swimming area which means that we do not place ropes and buoys out and we do not test the water," Port said.

In Lawrence, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation runs two pools, the Lt. Col. Edward Higgins Swimming Pool on Crawford Street and the Geisler Memorial Swimming Pool at 50 High St.

Both pools are scheduled to close Sunday, about a week earlier than last year.

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