Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park will open Thursday, May 21 and Pemaquid Beach Park will open either the last week of June or July 1. Both parks will open with restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Pemaquid Beach Triathlon will not take place this year.
The Bristol Parks and Recreation Commission discussed the parks’ opening days and the cancellation of the triathlon May 5.
Parks and Recreation Director Lara Sargent said the governor’s guidelines would prohibit the triathlon, since they bar gatherings of more than 50 people from June 1 through Aug. 31. Sargent is exploring options for providing refunds to participants who had already registered.
Commission Chair Clyde Pendleton suggested opening Lighthouse Park on May 21 – the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend. The date would allow the department a day to “work out any bugs” before the holiday weekend begins, he said.
Sargent planned to walk through the parks with Lynn Martin, a local consultant on workplace safety, who would make suggestions about ways to keep people safe in the parks.
For The Fishermen’s Museum and the Pemaquid Art Gallery, both at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park, Sargent envisions one-way traffic, a limit of one person or family per room, and a mask requirement. The museum’s map room will be closed. Sargent suggested that the Learning Center at Pemaquid Point Lighthouse Park also remain closed.
Pendleton suggested that staff inform visitors of the restrictions at the entrance booth, while Commissioner Sandra Lane suggested that the park sell masks in case visitors need them.
Sargent said the department has issued a refund for one wedding at Lighthouse Park. She will follow up with other people who have weddings scheduled through August. They will have the option to keep the number of people below 50, postpone the wedding, or receive a refund.
The commissioners want to open Pemaquid Beach Park either the last week of June or July 1. Pendleton said the park will need to emphasize physical distancing.
Only the single, handicapped-accessible bathrooms will be open. The staff will clean these bathrooms every hour.
The commissioners discussed the temporary use of port-a-potties while the larger restrooms remain closed.
Sargent suggested that the park have fewer picnic tables than planned under the covered eating area to provide ample space between each one.
The Pemaquid Beach Pavilion project was close to completion as of the May 5 meeting. The pergola was almost complete and the crew was waiting for brackets for a shelf outside the snack shack.
The pavilion is now essentially complete, according to Sargent.
In other business, the commissioners approved a bid of $7,200-$8,000 from Doray Carpentry to paint the bell tower and lighthouse keeper’s house at Lighthouse Park. The bid, which was the lowest of four, covers labor only.
At Pemaquid Beach Park, the department plans to paint the garage and ticket booth light gray to match the new pavilion, and to paint the fence white to match the trim.
Sargent said department employee Seth Fletcher had set up a teespring.com account to sell Bristol Parks merchandise. Sargent showed the online storefront to the commissioners from her laptop and said it was ready to open, with their approval.
The site offers a variety of T-shirt designs in different colors and styles, with department and town logos. Other merchandise includes sweatshirts, a tote bag, and a mug. The department may add a Pemaquid Beach towel, a popular item in the past.
The department will receive a portion of the proceeds for each sale. For example, if a T-shirt sells for $24, Teespring takes $10 and the department receives $14.
The commissioners approved the opening of the online storefront at teespring.com/stores/bristol-parks-and-recreation.
The commissioners discussed surveillance cameras at Lighthouse Park, where a truck crashed into the ticket booth last year and drove away. Sargent has been researching options with Bristol resident Dave Svens.
The commissioners agreed to buy two separate camera systems – one for the ticket booth and one for the lighthouse keeper’s house. The latter will be installed after the building is painted. The commissioners will discuss cameras for the beach in the future.
The commissioners approved the purchase of two built-in, self-retracting step stools for children to use when washing their hands in the restrooms at the new beach pavilion. The department will pay $409.95 each for the Step ‘n Wash stools.
The commissioners also agreed to buy a chair rack for the beach’s rental chairs for $180.