Cash-only Beach Pavilion may be past

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 10:30am

With the Shad Bloom Race now in the history books, the Block Island Recreation Department is looking toward summer. They, along with as many volunteers as can be mustered, will be readying the Beach Pavilion for its annual Memorial Day opening. Recreation Department Director Dave Sniffen said that he has also hired all the camp counselors, lifeguards, and beach house managers that he needs, but could still use equipment rental staff for the Pavilion. 

Sniffen also voiced his mild frustration about the limitations of the cash-only situation at the Beach Pavilion during the May 16 Recreation Board meeting. 

“People come in, they want to rent (some equipment), and ask, ‘Do you take credit cards?’ We don’t take credit cards. They walk away and it’s a lost sale,” said Sniffen. “Do we want to put an ATM machine in there — it creates income — or do we want to take credit cards?” 

The members noted that while an ATM machine can create revenue, they also cost about $1,500 and that amount has not been budgeted for. Sniffen said he favored the ATM idea, but Chair Chris Willi said that making credit card transactions at the Pavilion would be more expedient for this year. Sniffen was somewhat concerned that the harsh conditions — sand, salt — “are brutal for any kind of machinery,” which prompted Board member Annie Hall to also suggest going with “credit cards this year.”

Another thorny issue the Board continued to contend with was the location of the town’s Little League field. Currently, it is located in Closter Field, which has a famous tree in center field. There is also a stone wall surrounding it, which does not make it compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. 

“I look at what we have now and it is unsafe,” said Willi.

The other possibility — although not for this year — is to have two teams play simultaneously at Heinz Field, even though, according to Sniffen, there is a 40-foot overlap between the two fields.

“I still think you’re going from one unsafe situation to another unsafe situation,” said member Annie Hall. 

“Less — less safe,” said Willi about the Closter field situation. 

When Sniffen said he would try out Heinz Field, members suggested he wait until next year.

Shad Bloom Race 

Sniffen said that 202 runners registered for this year’s Shad Bloom Race, which was run on an overcast Saturday, May 13. The rain held off, for the most part, and 175 runners finished the race. Because the weather did not look promising, Sniffen said that some runners didn’t show up.