The sun is out, the air is hot and school is out for nearly another month, but Pomps Pond is a ghost town the day after it closed for the season.
Every year, the pond opens in mid June - June 16, this year - and closes around two months later as a majority of its lifeguard staff heads back to college in the fall. With around a month left in summer vacation for teenagers and younger children, residents are often left disappointed about the pond closing so early.
“It’s a bummer that it’s closed,” said 17-year-old Stephanie Petrella, sitting at the beach with three of her friends. “I wish it could be open. It’s a good time, it is local.”
Out for an afternoon stroll, Carisbrooke Street resident Tom Spang agreed, but said he understands why it’s closed. Though he thinks it should be open, he says, “I have no complaints.”
The reason why it closes is because a majority of its staff are college students. As lifeguards, most of them are athletes who typically return to college before other students, according to Kim Stamas, recreation coordinator with the Department of Community Services.
“Obviously, if they’re swimmers, they’re athletes, and anybody playing a varsity sport is gone,” said Stamas. “We lose everybody. We lose our councilors. We lose everything.”
There are a number of alternatives that the town could consider, and Stamas said town workers have already considered all their options.
One is using high school students. Tahera Doctor, 17, said she knows a number of students who are high school-aged and working as life guards at beaches, country clubs and other places with pools.
But the town remains concerned about safety issues because of the abduction and murder of a Massachusetts teen 12 years ago.