NEWS

Gorton Pond cleanup set Saturday, group hopes to reopen beach to swimming

By ALEX MALM
Posted 9/16/21

Christine Kellerman has lived across the street from Gorton Pond since 2006.

Since then she said that the area has been “let go,” physically, especially since swimming …

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NEWS

Gorton Pond cleanup set Saturday, group hopes to reopen beach to swimming

Posted

Christine Kellerman has lived across the street from Gorton Pond since 2006.

Since then she said that the area has been “let go,” physically, especially since swimming hasn’t been allowed there.

In June she started a Facebook group called “Friends of Gorton Pond” which has over 150 members thus far. Her hope is that they will be able to get the beach cleaned up and they will be able to have swimming in the pond once again. 

On Saturday members of the community will have a chance to help clean up the area during an end of summer beach cleanup from 3 to 5 p.m.

Those attending are asked to bring work or gardening gloves, longer pants, due to their being a lot of poison ivy, and a water bottle. Children are welcome to attend the event, but those attending are asked to not bring their pets.

3 Scoops Ice cream is expected to be at the event around 4 p.m.

Kellerman is hopeful of a good turnout.

“There's a lot of interest in getting that beach area cleaned up and getting it accessible for swimming again,” she said.

After a couple of years of living in their home, Kellerman said that swimming was no longer allowed. She said that she thought after the circulator project was completed they would be able to resume swimming in the area again.

Since then she said that she doesn’t think much has been done.

Kellerman said that prior to contacting the City about possibly reopening the pond for swimming she did her research. Her primary focus was to determine if the pond was clean.

 She said that the URI Watershed Watch tests the pond monthly. In July she said that the test results showed the pond had only two colony forming units per 100 milliliters. The maximum amount that can be in the water in order for it to be considered safe is 60.

“That pond is extremely clean,” she said.

While she feels like little has been done still by the city to resume swimming in the area she is still hopeful that it can happen as soon as next summer.

“It's really a beautiful place,” Kellerman said.

One of those expected to be in attendance for the beach cleanup is Council President Steve McAllister, who represents the Ward where the pond is located.

“I’m just excited for the cleanup. I love doing these clean ups,” he said.

McAllister said there are a number of different things they will have to look at before they can decide if they will be able to have swimming at the pond again including finding out why swimming wasn’t allowed to take place there in the first place.

 “I think that's a ways away but I think it's great that we're getting some community engagement in that area and I’m excited for that,” he said.

Another important factor that McAllister pointed to is the fact that they would need to find enough manpower to work at the beach, something that the City found out this summer is no guarantee.

“We didn’t have enough lifeguards this year to handle the beaches that we already had open and the pool,” he said.

As far as making improvements to the pond area, he said that while they are there for the beach cleanup they can look around to see if there are other projects that they can submit to the City to get done.

“Just a little bit of TLC makes a big difference in any area,” he said.

An example of this he said came from his Ward where the welcome to “Arnolds Neck” sign was in disrepair. He said they were able to contact the City and get the sign replaced with a brand new one.

Whether swimming is able to resume at the pond or not, he said that community members stepping up and taking initiative is very important.

“I think it goes a long way and it shows that the areas aren’t forgotten and that's important,” he said.

McAllister said he is also coordinating with the City to have them pick up any trash they collect in the area on Monday. 

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