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Parks and Rec to buy new paddle boards and hike rental fees

Looking ahead to summer boating on the pond, the Parks and Recreation Commission is working to update the rental kiosk at the town beach. The kiosk, which was added to the beach last summer and then re-outfitted for winter weather with snowshoes, will be available for boat rentals once again starting April 1. This summer, in addition to the usual supply of canoes and kayaks, Parks and Rec will offer more paddle boards and is considering renting out sailboats as well.

At the commission’s March 15 meeting, members voted to approve the purchase of five new paddle boards, costing just under $2,000. Parks and Rec Chair Bob O’Shea explained that these paddle boards are made of plastic and are more durable than the fiberglass boards the town rented out last year. The model that O’Shea plans to order will also have straps on the front for storage and a universal mount for a camera or other accessories.

Parks and Rec also purchased three new Pico sailboats earlier this year, adding to the fleet of six Sunfish sailboats the town already owned. The commission is considering the possibility of renting out these sailboats this summer, O’Shea said. Although the Sunfish have traditionally been available for boat rentals, the town did not allow patrons to rent the sailboats this past summer due to concerns about their fragility, O’Shea had told the Press. The new sailboats are more durable, which is why Parks and Rec may be adding them as a rental option when not in use for lessons.

The commission is also hoping to upgrade the kiosk itself, having applied for $5,000 in funding from the Community Preservation Committee. Should this request be approved at Spring Town Meeting, Parks and Rec plans to use the money to buy the paddle boards and update the self-service software and the key locks.

With new boats and upgraded features, renting a boat at the pond will be slightly more expensive this year. Michelle Catalina, a representative of the Planning Board, suggested that the seasonal pass price be increased from $60 to $65 and that the daily pass price be increased from $15 to $20. Parks and Rec members voted unanimously to make these changes.

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