Spring Lake brings in $41K profit; New rules will target family pass abuse

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BURRILLVILLE – After another successful summer season, officials at Spring Lake Beach are planing some updates for 2019 that include reducing the number of people covered by the family pass, adding a permanent beach sand volleyball court, and possibly adding some “daytime” camping sites.

Beach Manager Judy Lopez and Recreation Director Andrea Hall presented a list of several recommended changes to beach policy to members the Town Council last week. The $6,000 in improvements will be funded from $41,000 in profits the beach pulled in during the 2018 season.

Among the changes are the installation of a $1,000 electronic beach software system to replace physical beach passes. The system will include pictures of every family member covered by the $30 pass.

‘It’s going to make the system much easier,” said Lopez.

The number of family members that can be covered by a pass will also change. Family passes will cover a maximum of five people, reduced from seven in 2018, with a discounted fee of $10 each to include up to three additional family members. Passes for individuals not covered under a family pass cost $20.

Councilor David Place noted that the new system will cut down on fraud.

“You pretty much know people are abusing the system?” Place asked Lopez.

“I’ve lived in Burrillville all my life so yeah, I know who people are,” Lopez replied.

The beach, a town-run facility with access to an arcade, concessions and a growing list of amenities, from paddle boards and ping pong to an inflatable bounce house, sold 700 family passes last summer. Lopez, who took over in beach management in 2015, is widely credited with the increased attendance, thanks to updated rules that made the beach more family-friendly, and strong fiscal management.

“The beach looked busy this year,” noted Town Council President John Pacheco.

Martin Geoffrey, 12, kayaks along Spring Lake.
Pinball machines are among the many games guests can play in the arcade.
Guests to Spring Lake can sign out equipment, including balls and paddles for the beach’s ping pong tables.

“The feedback I’ve gotten about the improvements that were made up there are unbelievable – how things are run have been amazing,” said Place. “Basically the people up there think you’re a super star. The residents around there definitely recognize and appreciate it.”

Pacheco added, “People over here think you’re a super star too.”

Lopez and Hall hope to bring in even more revenue from the beach in 2019. Before Spring Lake opens for business next spring, the town will reconfigure the handicap parking spaces to add more at a cost of $2,000. They’ll add a permanent beach sand volleyball court at a cost of $3,000, and look into adding daytime camping sites to the growing list of amenities.

The beach currently has 11 posted campsite locations located across from Champlin Hall and North Shore Road along an existing path in the woods.

“These existing sites are currently available for overnight camping, but have had virtually no use in over 10 years,” noted a memo on the recommendations.

Hall and Lopez plan to study the issue and make a proposal to the council after the holidays.

Councilor Raymond Trinque said that he’s in favor of working to further develop the campsites.

“I think we could rent that at a really good clip,” said Trinque. “I think we need to look at that campground as a revenue regenerator and a tourism generator.”

Trinque said he would also like to see a special beach pass created for lake home owners.

“If you have a boat you can drive right into the beach,” he said.

Changes approved last week also include adjustments to the policy for Champlin Hall that ban frylators and charcoal grills, and prohibit subletting.

“The problem is they bring charcoal grills and we’re not equipped to empty them,” said Lopez.

Place asked what would happen if people with privacy concerns did not want their photo posted in the new computer system, and was told guests can alternatively show a license.

Councilor John Anthony Scott said that he noticed how clean the beach has been in recent years.

“It’s always a good time and I think you guys are doing a great job over there,” Scott said.  “It’s a nice beach.”

Jessica Benun works at the rental booth, where guests can check out equipment, or rent paddle boards, kayaks and boats.