“The sun is shining and it was a great day for the kickoff of the season.”
Those were the words of Raeann Gembis, adult coordinator for the Bedford Recreation Department on Thursday afternoon – opening day at Springs Brook Park.
Springs Brook Park (SBP), established over 50 years ago, is a man-made filtered swimming facility on Springs Road just outside of the VA Hospital. The town-run destination offers a sand beach, zero depth entry and dock swimming, splash pad, playground, picnic area with grills, and activities such as half-court basketball, sand volleyball, mini-golf, wall ball, gaga ball pit, and tetherball.
And some of the buzz around the park on opening day was the return of the concession stand.
Gembis mentioned “the slush is back!” as one of the exciting things this summer. Crew member Finn Harte totes they serve “the best slush in town.”
Asalie, Noa, and Davi Brosgol were enjoying the slush on Thursday afternoon. With the temperature in the low 70s and a bit of a breeze, the dozens of families around the park were enjoying swimming and the splash pad, but also the warming up in the sun on the playground and sports options.
Ten-year-old Noa Brosgol, reported the water was “nice and clear” and start of the season “refreshing” today, but she was looking forward to playing mini-golf after the slush break.
The Brosgol parents explained that the family of seven has been coming to the park nearly every single summer day since they moved to town in 2007.
The kids’ father, Dan Brosgol appreciates the tradition of SBP and says that now three of his kids are working in the park (two as lifeguards and fourteen-year-old Asalie was hired as a crew member this year).
Like the Brosgol’s kids, Springs Brook Park Director Mary Gallant said, “This is where I grew up, this is where I learned to swim. This was always a place that has meant a lot to me, and it is a pleasure to walk in and see these families, families I recognize as returning members, and really value Springs Brook Park becoming their place.”
SBP has also become a summer tradition for Katie Gabriello’s family. Gabriello was the first person through the gates on Thursday. The Gabriellos have been regulars and members since 2019, driving “a quick 20 minutes” down the road from their home in North Reading. She said there is “nothing comparable” closer to her home – “the cost, the value, the number of activities,” and the fact that it’s never so crowded they can’t enjoy themselves or bring a crew of friends.
Gabriello’s children, swimming near the dock and playing in the sand on Thursday, are currently 9, 7, and 5 years old, and she said the zero-depth entry was one of the first things that drew her to the manmade pond when the kids were smaller. Teddy, now 5, said his favorite part about Springs Brook is the swimming. They are really looking forward to enjoying the return of the concession stand and extended hours this summer.
And so is Jacqueline Anchondo from Lincoln who was at SBP with her 9, 6, and 3-year-old children and some friends. The limited hours and no concessions kept the family from becoming members last year, but the additions this year make it “ideal with the splash pad, sports, playground, and swimming.” They were excited about the season ahead and having a great day.
Extending hours and adding back concessions were part of Gallant’s off-season efforts (with the support of the Recreation Department and Recreation Commission). Another initiative was hiring lifeguards. Despite a local shortage, the town was able to hire six additional lifeguards this year, bringing the guard squad number to nearly 20 for the season.
Looking ahead, Gallant is planning events for SBP members and visitors throughout the summer. There will be activities offered to celebrate the 4th of July, dinner and live music nights, sand castle contests, a mermaid day, a water balloon toss, touch a truck event, arts and crafts, and other activities throughout the summer that will be posted on the Recreation Department website and Facebook page.
Recent Bedford High School graduates Coco and Lulu Steele also grew up spending their summers on the shores of Springs Brook Park. Now lifeguards, both said “they were excited to get things back to normal” and again mentioned concessions and extended hours. Fellow lifeguard Oren Brosgol agreed: “It’s nice to get the summer started!”
Springs Brook Park will be open Tuesdays through Saturdays until Aug. 12. Hours are posted and any delays and closures will be posted on the Recreation website and Facebook. People can also read the online brochure.
Memberships may be purchased online or in person with rates for residents, non-residents, students, and senior citizens. Guest and Daily Admission rates and restrictions are posted on the website and can be paid for at the gate.