BELMAR, NJ — Belmar officials are working on a game plan to bring back recreational programs for children this summer, focusing first on outdoor activities.
Recreation director Barry Trogu gave an update of efforts during the borough council’s March 2 meeting — in response to parents’ concerns that the borough wasn’t doing enough to ensure the return of youth recreation programs after the coronavirus has forced the cancellation of most activities since last summer.
READ MORE: Belmar Officials, Parents Clash Over Restart of Youth Recreation Programs
At the top of the borough’s priority list is offering the borough’s popular summer camp so that it complies with New Jersey’s COVID-19 requirements in order to be approved by the state Department of Health, Trogu said.
While the camp’s home base will still be Taylor Pavilion and the Fifth Avenue beachfront, this summer’s itinerary may also include trips to the borough’s playgrounds, parks, tennis and basketball courts, and the miniature golf course at the Belmar Manutti Marina, he said.
The camp will continue with a counselor/child ratio of 1 to 10, with those groups remaining together for the entire summer in order to reduce the risk of virus spread should an exposure occur, Trogu said.
Temperature checks would be taken before the start of each day, face masks would be required and procedures would be established should a staff member or camper test positive for the coronavirus.
Drop-off and pick-up times would be staggered at several designated locations in the area of the Taylor Pavilion on Fifth and Ocean Avenues.
While the camp will be open only to children living in Belmar and Lake Como, discussions are still under way on how long to make each camp day and the total number of campers. The eight-week camp is traditionally held from late June to mid-August.
Trogu expects plans to be finalized when registration would typically be held for the camp — in early April.
Also returning this year will be the Belmar junior lifeguard program, with participation also limited to Belmar and Lake Como residents, as well as summer basketball to be held on the newly resurfaced 16th Avenue courts and the Kids’ Running Club in July and August.
New recreation programs under discussion include children’s and adult kickball, “pick-up” baseball after the end of the Tri-Shore Little League season, soccer on the beach and tennis at Maclearie Park at the marina.
New Pirate Ships to Dock at Beachfront Playgrounds
During the borough council meeting, Mayor Mark Walsifer also announced that the borough has found replacements for the two playground pirate ships that were removed from the Eighth and 16th Avenue beaches last December.
READ MORE: Thar They Go! Deteriorating Pirate Ships Hoisted from Belmar’s Beachfront Playgrounds
Priced at $45,000 each, the “pirate ships” — a collection of slides, tunnels, ladders and other playtime amenities — are made of composite materials that will last longer than their predecessors, which were made of concrete, said Walsifer, who is hopeful the new equipment will arrive by the start of summer.
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