Parks & Rec Update: Coyote Cutouts, Byram Pool Attendance, Lifeguard Shortage

Greenwich Pool at Byram Park
At the June Parks & Rec board meeting, director Joe Siciliano gave a departmental update starting with attendance at the pool.

Though there have been many rainy days since the pool opened for 2019, it’s a popular destination on sunny days and there are many activities at the pool now that school is out.

Siciliano said that last year, for the 60 days that the pool was open, attendance averaged 486 people per day.

Attendance on the highest day of summer 2018 was 1,109 people.

This year, since the school year ended, the pool has been averaging about 300 a day.

Up until mid June, the temperature averaged 61° but the water has since warmed up. “We’ll see those numbers go up dramatically,” he said.

Brian Kerzner, the Operations Manager – Boats and Harbors with the Marine & Facility Operations Division said, There is a new pool manager, who is figuring out how things were run last year and how to change and improve.”

“The new pool manager is looking for ways to make it run more efficiently and productively and provide better service without increasing the budget,” he said, adding,”The pool is in good shape. It looks good and clear.”

That said, on Friday morning, Byram resident Clare Kilgallen called in to First Selectman Peter Tesei’s ‘Ask the Selectman’ radio show to suggest that the Byram Pool hotline be updated more often.

She said the pool was closed after an incident when someone vomited and another incident involving a diaper, though there are strict rules about diapers.

She suggested the pool hotline be updated on a daily basis so people don’t make the trip expecting the kiddie pool, splash pad and pool all to be open.

Currently the pool hotline, (203) 861-3170, states the pool is open for the season and gives the pool hours 11:00am to 7:00pm at the main pool, 11:00-6:00pm at the kiddie pool and splash pad, but that pool hours may vary due to weather conditions.


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Facility rules are that children who are not toilet trained must wear waterproof pants over cloth diapers or swim diapers while in the water.  “DISPOSABLE DIAPERS ARE NOT ALLOWED IN THE KIDDIE POOL, SPLASH PAD, OR MAIN POOL. NO EXCEPTIONS. Please take children in diapers into the changing rooms to remove dirty diapers and to wash children thoroughly with warm water and soap before entering the water,” the website states.

Tesei said he would pass on Kilgallen’s suggestion to the Parks & Rec Department.

Click here for pool rules, hours, fees, guests, swim lessons, and senior water aerobics.

Christine and Bill Bartlik at the concession stand at Tod's Point. May 22, 2019

Christine and Bill Bartlik at the main concession stand at Tod’s Point which opened in April. The concession stand at the old barn will open by June 1, 2019. Hours are 9:30am until a half hour before sunset. Photo: Leslie Yager

Kerzner gave an update on the Town beaches.

“We’ve been struggling a little with lifeguard numbers,” he said. “It’s an ongoing issue,” he said, adding that there is a statewide lifeguard shortage. Still, he said, “We’re now in a spot where we’re pretty comfortable with the numbers we’ve got. Now that school is out.”

As for the new access mat installed at Tod’s Point with funds donated by the Greenwich Lions Club, response has been positive. There is a similar mat over at the beach at Byram Park.

“Both go to about the high tide line we’ll see how they hold up when we get storms,” Kerzner said.

Continuing the beach update, Kerzner said the beach at Island Beach has been regraded.

He said the new concessionaire at Tod’s Point, Bill Bartlik is garnering positive feedback.

File photo of geese in Greenwich. Photo: Leslie Yager

Geese at Byram Park
Kerzner said the geese have been a problem at Byram Park.

“We’ve tried a bunch of interesting tactics,” he said. “I have a bunch of different coyote cutouts scattered all over the place, which is getting attention from the geese. From what I hear now, when the geese come out they hiss at the cutouts, but they still come out. But, progress.”

Another tactic Kerzner said is being utilized is the erecting of orange construction material across the openings at night to create obstacles the geese have to get around. The barriers are removed during the day.

“We’re toward the end of the period when the geese don’t fly,”Kerzner said, referring to the time in summer that geese are molting. In June and July they molt their flight feathers and are unable to fly. Since they can’t fly they are more vulnerable to predators, they molt near water that provides them with the capability of escaping by swimming away.

“Theoretically between the fences and the dogs, we’re making progress keeping the geese off the grass and beaches,” Kerzner said.

“Tthere’s 100 different ways to manipulate their behavior,” Siciliano said adding that the town contracts with a company called Geese Relief.

“He pulls up, lets the dog out of the car, and the geese go. Then they come back. We’ve talked to Conservation about mixing up his schedule and the dog coming at a different time.”

“Basically we’re chasing them from our property and they go over to properties in Belle Haven. Then a contractor goes over there and chases them back,” he said. “It’s a real chore.”

More information on the Town’s Canada Goose Management is available on the Town website.

Kerzner said the Town marinas are in good shape. There is a new “energetic and personable” dock master at Grass Island. “I’ve heard great things about him. He’s meeting and getting to know the residents.”

Ferry Service

“Ferry service is going very, well but the older boats have issues and surprises in the past year including mechanical breakdowns. But Jeff Devlin, the ferry captain is being proactive, jumping on everything instantly.”

One of the ferries was out of service as it needed repair, but came back to service about two weeks ago.

Click here for the ferry schedule.

Sandblast 2015. Photo: Leslie Yager

Sandblast 2015. Photo: Leslie Yager

Sandblast 2019: Saturday, July 27

Parks & Recreation and the Greenwich Arts Council will again co-host the popular Sandblast, a fun day at the beach, focusing on the creative aspect of sand sculpting.

Participants need only bring shovels, pails, and any tools to create a sand sculpture. Participants will also need to check-in on the beach under the pavilion to get a flag to mark their sculpture. This year’s event will include live music, as well as a professional artist and sculptor on site.

The event is Saturday, July 27 starting at 12:00pm (Rain date, Sunday, July 28 at 1:00pm). Don’t forget your sun block, shovels, and sculpting tools!