Spaulding Pond beach in Norwich to have new look this summer

Norwich — Spaulding Pond beach in Mohegan Park will have a new look when it opens June 19 for the summer season, courtesy of Norwich Sunrise Rotary and Rotary Community Corps.

Members of the two groups will arrive at the beach at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to spread some 60 tons of sand, already piled up at the site, and install five new picnic tables, three new trash cans, a portable sink for lifeguards to use to help clean cuts and scrapes if someone is injured and a new sign listing beach rules.

Allison Keefe, president of Sunrise Rotary and project manager, said the group was looking for a community project and Sunrise Rotary member and Norwich Director of Human Services Lee Ann Gomes, who oversees the city Recreation Department, included the beach improvements on a city “wish list” of projects.

“This was the one that interested me,” Keefe said. “There were a lot of little projects. It was time for us to do a big project. This was one I felt would improve the lives of the children in Norwich and attract people from surrounding towns.”

Sunrise Rotary held a pancake breakfast fundraiser at Billy Wilson’s Ageing Still in downtown Norwich on Sunday to raise money for the $6,000 project. The club ordered sand from Seymour’s Sand and Stone in Bozrah, the sign from Sign Professionals in Norwich, and the picnic tables from Amazon.

City Manager John Salomone had placed $5,000 in the city capital improvements budget for beach repairs, but the Rotary project allowed the City Council on Monday to remove that project and use the money to replace a broken-down mini utility vehicle used for park maintenance.

Alderman William Nash thanked the Rotary “for stepping up and doing this community service,” and hopes it will inspire other community service groups to reach out to the city for possible cooperative projects.

The Spaulding Pond beach will open for the summer on June 19 and will be open seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m. Admission is free.

c.bessette@theday.com

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