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Parks & Rec Commission approves policy for non-resident registrations

by | Jan 10, 2024 | News

The Parks & Recreation Commission on Tuesday unanimously adopted a policy regarding registration for residents and non-residents.

The Commission will review the policy in one year and then thereafter, likely every three years.

Director Jon Lewitus said that he had reached out to seven other Parks & Rec departments to see how they handled the issue and fashioned a proposal he thought would work best in town.

He explained that a resident is defined as someone who lives in town but also includes town employees and their immediate family members and individuals who attend Hopkinton schools.

Residents will be given the first opportunity to register for programs on an automated system (myrec). Two weeks later, the registration will open to non-residents if there are still spots available, Lewitus said.

Non-residents will pay rates that are 20 percent higher. For example, a $100 program will cost $120 for non-residents.

The director said other local Parks & Rec departments have a rate differentiation ranging from $5 more for non-residents to an additional $35. He recommended having Hopkinton fall in between that.

“It’s a nice round number that is not exorbitant. It makes sense,” said commission member Seth Kenney.

In addition, the policy includes a clause that the director reserves the right to use discretion in certain situations or for specific programs.

Larger programs that typically have wait lists for residents likely will not be available to non-residents. As examples, Lewitus gave summer playground group, football, skiing and basketball.

However, things could change if, for example, openings remain a week from the start date.

The director said there is a way with the automated system to automatically put non-residents on wait lists for popular activities in case something changes and slots occur.

“We’ll know quickly if spots are open,” Lewitus added. ”But we are giving residents that grace period to sign up [first].”

Requests approved for Town Common use

Colette Cronin, representing Friends of Hopkinton, asked permission to use the Town Common for the third annual Family Fling on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., with an indoor backup.

Cronin said the event would include activities like tug of war, an obstacle course and interactive music for kids, and it also would have food and entertainment that adults would enjoy.

“I hope it is more of a community day,” Cronin said.

There is the possibility of playing the game Twister with circles painted on the grass, something she was told to coordinate with Lewitus.

The event also is sponsored by the Lions Club, whose insurance is used, she said.

The commission approved the use unanimously.

Also approved was a request by Kelly Grill and Kim Chisholm for use of the Town Common from March 18 to April 19 on behalf of the Hopkinton Center for the Arts and the 26.2 Foundation.

To celebrate the 100th start of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Grill described a fundraiser auction modeled after Chatham’s Art in the Park display.

The Hopkinton exhibit would feature 26 “winged feet,” 2 feet by 3 feet, mounted on a pole and secured to the ground, Grill explained.

“It’s a wonderful way to draw more people into town, and the Marathon has a lot of celebratory activities going on,” she said.

Chisholm noted that some local businesses have cameras that would be deterrents for vandals, although the anchors make the artwork very difficult to move.

“We want to auction these off and have a vested interest in keeping them safe,” she said.

Grill added that ideally, the art would be displayed near the fountain in a concentrated space. She would like to figure out a way to set up a guest book to track the number of visitors and from where they traveled.

Lewitus was asked to work with the organizations so there would be no interference with other Marathon-related items like tents at the site.

“I think it is awesome and a great opportunity,” commission chair Daniel Terry said.

Process reviewed for hiring program coordinator

In other business, Lewitus said he is in the process of grading applicants for the full-time program coordinator position. He is looking at seven resumes with redacted names, addresses and education information.

Once the Human Resource Department also grades them, Lewitus expects there will be two rounds of interviews, with the second consisting of himself, a town employee and a representative from Human Resources.

He hopes to finish the process by Feb. 7.

Lewitus is expected to meet with Town Manager Norman Khumalo this week to discuss the department’s budget request, which currently has an increase of 64.5%, well above the town’s recommended 4.4% cap.

The director said the increase is attributed to hiring of full-time staff, Town Common expenses, fountain repairs, lighting, etc., as well as when the revolving fund will be used.

“With the deadline approaching, I’ll find ways to trim,” Lewitus said.

The director also wants to post positions online for beach staff and other summer part-time employees by mid-February.

Commission members will join a meeting with field user groups on Feb. 6 at a time to be determined. The next regular Parks & Recreation Commission meetings are Jan. 26 and Feb. 13.

The board will be hearing recommendations from the Sandy Beach Subcommittee on changes for the upcoming year.

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