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Testing The Waters: Eichler’s Cove And Treadwell Park Pool Open For The Season

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Residents looking for a reprieve from their homes — especially those who enjoy being near water — have been given the OK to head toward the town’s two public swimming locations.

The beach at Eichler’s Cove and the pool at Treadwell Memorial Park have opened for the season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each had delayed openings, June 18 and June 23, before the beach and pool, respectively, were available for public use.

In addition to purchasing season — or even weekly or daily — passes to use the facilities, residents this season must also create parking reservations before heading to either location. This helps Parks & Recreation staff maintain the social distancing measures put in place before either location could open.

On June 22, lifeguard Maya Renkert said the beach seemed busier than usual during its first few days of operations.

“Everything has been fine, though,” said Renkert, who is working her second summer as a lifeguard for the town.

Assistant Waterfront Director Melissa Nowak agreed, saying those who were visiting the public beach were working with staff to understand the new safety measures in place.

“The reservations system was a little bumpy at first, but it’s working better now,” Nowak noted. “We had a few walk-ins, but we are encouraging people to do reservations.”

At Eichler’s Cove beach, this means residents can reserve one of ten available “boxes” that are currently available. Each box — a designated area on the beach, outlined with yellow caution tape and identified by a numbered flag — can be reserved for a two-hour time frame, Nowak said.

“There’s no back-to-back right now, just to give as many people as possible time here,” she explained. “We know people like to just sit all day sometimes, and it’s tough to tell them they have to go.”

So far, she added, residents have been understanding about the limited time they can stay at the cove.

Residents arriving at the Old Bridge Road property are just happy to be out of their homes, she mentioned.

“People are enjoying a way to get out of the house. Parents have been thanking us for that,” Nowak said.

Dave Fodor, who was working at the gate at Eichler’s on Monday, agreed.

“Things are going good here,” he said. “People don’t have too many places to go, so they’re coming to the beach or going on a boat.”

As he spoke, a group of eight young adults checked in with him before heading toward one of the boat slips on the marina side of the property.

“A few people didn’t know about or understand the new system,” he said after the group passed him. “We just ask everyone to look into reservations before the next time they visit.”

Town Pool Open

The pool at Treadwell Park opened at 11 am, June 23, and residents were ready.

Chris Pearson, an assistant waterfront director who was at the Philo Curtis Road location Tuesday afternoon, said there was a line at the door when he and other staff members opened a few hours earlier.

“We’re happy to be open, and people coming in are definitely happy,” he said. “They’ve been cooped up for a while.”

Upon arrival, guests now check in with a lifeguard stationed just inside the building’s entrance. All are escorted through the women’s locker room for a quick rinse-off shower, and then escorted to the pool deck.

Guests this season are to arrive already wearing their bathing suits; full showers are not being permitted, and the changing spaces in each locker room are not available.

New signage on the fencing that surrounds the pool indicates a singular direction of travel around the pool. Signs also indicate where guests should and should not place towels, chairs, etc, to mark their space during their visits.

When they depart, guests exit by way of the men’s locker room, where they can rinse off on their way out of the facility. Lockers are not available in either room.

The toddler pool at Treadwell, Pearson said, remains closed indefinitely.

By mid-Tuesday afternoon, it was clear families had been waiting for the pool to reopen, even with new procedures in place. Children were splashing and laughing, and lifeguards were watching over the water from their chairs.

There were a few wrinkles earlier in the day, Pearson said, but those who arrived for a swim were understanding.

“Eichler’s took a few days to get everything sorted out, and we’re expecting the same here,” he said, adding that overall, “It’s been a great day.”

Heading toward the water at Eichler’s Cove mid-Monday afternoon were, from left, Charlotte Foley, Eliza Foley, Jack Gronowski, Matthew Gronowski, Shane Lovett, and Riley Lovett. The freshwater beach at town-owned property had opened for the season a few days earlier, and families were ready, according to lifeguards. —Bee Photos, Hicks
Yellow caution tape on the ground and safety cones holding numbered flags indicate each of the ten spaces currently available for reservations at Eichler’s Cove. "Guests can reserve a spot in the shade or one in the sand," Assistant Waterfront Director Melissa Nowak pointed out.
In addition to the longstanding sign (right) posting the rules and regulations of Eichler's Cove, additional signage near the entrance this season spells out the rules for social distancing as residents and Parks & Recreation staff continue to contend with COVID-19 precautions. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Newtown Parks & Recreation Lifeguard Peri Meeker finishes the first step of checking in Melissa Mathison, with sons Nick and Cameron, on Tuesday, June 23. Once lifeguards confirm reservations, they escort pool guests through one side of the pool building, out to the pool deck, where visitors are asked to continue following social distance guidelines. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Members of the Bes family — clockwise from upper left: Hubert, Isabella, Emelia and Michael — were among those enjoying the water within a few hours of the pool at Treadwell Park opening on June 23. —Bee Photo, Hicks
Beckham Maslowski, left, hesitates slightly while his brother Liam jumps right in to Treadwell Park pool, Tuesday afternoon. Nadia Maslowski, the boys’ mother, was ready with phone camera in hand. Signs on the fence in the background indicate the direction of travel pool visitors are asked to follow. —Bee Photo, Hicks
—Bee Photo, Hicks
—Bee Photo, Hicks
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