Town Gears Up for Summer Recreation Opportunities

by | May 6, 2021

Some new offerings include paddle boarding and kayaking for kids.

The Town of East Greenwich is out with its summer program offerings and it’s got a new look, as well as some fun new offerings, like a day camp for preschoolers and a “water adventure camp” on Greenwich Cove. And the old favorites are here too, from youth camps and adult offerings to the summer concert series at Academy Field. 

This is the first summer season in EG for new Community Services Director Andy Wade, who joined the town in February. Coming to the town with a fresh eye, Wade said he wanted to revisit how programs are presented to the public. 

“I wanted to take a more cohesive approach and presentation to the town. We’re really the Community Services Department and we’re all here to work together,” he said, referring to the various parts of the department: recreation, parks, senior services and the harbor. “There’s some crossover on a lot of activities we’re presenting to the public…. I wanted to make sure that we’re all together.”

That’s why on the cover of the program guide there’s a photo of the entire Community Services team, including Bob Houghtaling, who provides substance abuse counseling and youth supports. (Find a link to the program HERE.)

“He’s not technically part of our department but the services he provides to the town are crucial and in many ways we work together to help create and deliver things to the public.”

The Community Services Department is also coordinating with the EG Free Library too, with a plan to create a “story walk” at Frenchtown Park, as well as the library’s usual summer offerings.

Looking ahead, Wade said the town just went out to bid on a comprehensive community services master plan. The idea is to evaluate what the town has now in terms of services and facilities and determine what it needs going forward. 

“Towns change over time,” Wade said. “Is the infrastructure best serving today’s East Greenwich population and the population we expect to have in coming years?”

He said he’s hopeful the final product will provide concrete steps for going forward. For instance, there’s been some discussion about whether or not the town could support a large indoor recreation facility. “I think that’s an important question to ask before we ask taxpayers to invest in something that large.”

The cost of the plan will depend on the bids received but Wade estimated the town might spend as much as $30,000. 

A consultant is needed, he said, both because of the time involved as well as the outside perspective. 

“We’re not taking taxpayer money directly to pay for this project,” Wade said. “We’re taking advantage of existing impact fees that are earmarked for open space and recreation that have not been utilized yet.”

Wade said they intend to hold community workshops to hear from as broad a range of residents as possible. He’s hoping the report will be done by fall. 

Meanwhile, Wade and Recreation Manager Rachel Clough both noted there are still some summer job opportunities through their department, particularly for high school or college age camp counselors. Contact Clough for more information at [email protected].

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