By ERIN STEWART
Say it loud and say it proud! Summer 2020 is NOT canceled in New Britain! I am happy to report that after multiple, long conversations with our Health Department and Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department we have developed a safe plan to keep you and your families enjoying all of the wonderful summer activities that New Britain has to offer.
Thankfully, our collective actions in response to the coronavirus have worked! Connecticut and New Britain continue to see consistent downward trends in our cases of covid-19 (keep wearing those masks and distancing!) and we are eager and ready to return to some sense of normal, with the appropriate precautions of course. The City of New Britain has taken several proactive steps to allow our residents to enjoy a plethora of exciting summer activities and programs in a safe manner.
With the oppressive summer heat as of late, we’ve made accommodations to help the working families of New Britain stay cool - the pools at A.W. Stanley and Willow Brook are open for business! Since the onset of the pandemic, New Britain has been one of the only communities in the state to open its community pools for public use - but we’re doing it safely. Trying to be mindful of social distancing and maximizing the safety of our citizens, we’ve made the decision to limit attendance to 50 people per two-hour time block. Friendly reminder that spots must be reserved ahead of time, reservations can be made by contacting our Parks and Recreation Department at nbparksnrec.org or call 860-826-3360. Unfortunately due to health and safety concerns, we cannot open our splash pads this year.
Camp TotalRec is up and running this summer for elementary age children grades 1-5 and is limited to New Britain residents only. We have increased the number of camp locations throughout the city by choosing additional park locations to comply with social distancing guidelines. Groups of campers were reduced to not exceed 10 children per group. Face masks for campers and staff are required. Camp TotalRec is still taking applications for a few remaining slots, if you’re interested.
We’ll be continuing our community yoga nights at the Rose Garden in Walnut Hill Park on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, as well as our summer concert series at Walnut Hill Park at the Band Shell. We’ve put up extra fences to encourage social distancing. We also ask that park attendees please wear a mask while interacting with others. Additional info on yoga and the summer concert series can be found online.
In other good news, our community farmers market is now open every Wednesday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. downtown in Central Park. The farmers market is scheduled to remain open until Oct. 28 of this year. The farmers market highlights two farmers, New Britain Roots and Dondero Orchards. In addition to fruits and veggies, you can come down to enjoy some music, the weekly food truck, various vendors, programming and informational resources from the Community Services Office. Please wear a mask. Cash, EBT/SNAP, credit, WIC and senior farmers market nutrition program checks are accepted.
Additionally, for the first time ever, there are more opportunities to buy local produce from our farmers market suppliers. New Britain Roots will be adding farmers market locations this year and will be open Monday nights at the Summer Concert Series from 6-8 p.m. and Saturday’s from 9-11 a.m. next to Band Shell.
It’s baseball season and the Bees are back! Check their schedule at nbbees.com. All tickets are $7 and parking is free.
We hope New Britain residents take full advantage of the activities in New Britain and appreciate the safety precautions we’ve set in place for them to still enjoy summer in our community. Safety is our primary concern and we feel confident that you can still enjoy the season to its fullest extent safely. Summer is NOT canceled in New Britain! Let’s make it a great one, full of enjoyable memories together.
Erin Stewart is the mayor of New Britain