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Watertown Parks Department adding summer programs

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Looking for things for your kids to do over the summer? Do you want to learn to scuba dive or start a new activity?

The city of Watertown’s Parks and Recreation Department is expanding the kinds of programs and activities it will be offering this summer, for children and adults.

On Monday, the Watertown City Council approved the new programs. It also agreed on a fee structure for the activities and programs.

The new programs are adult kickball and volleyball leagues, a boot camp exercise program for adults, horseback riding, family yoga, children’s Zumba, scuba diving lessons, a youth running club and a fishing clinic.

The offerings also include such standbys as swimming, golf and tennis lessons, T-ball, youth baseball and adult softball leagues. The city’s three outdoor pools open June 24.

Parks and Recreation Superintendent Erin E. Gardner and her staff are still putting together the summer activities.

“We’re just excited to start off the season and offer things to do for the kids,” she said.

Most of the activities will be held at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds off Coffeen Street. Some will begin later this month, but most of them will start in July, Mrs. Gardner said.

“Kickball is something that’s really popular in other communities, and I think will be here,” she said.

She said she hopes 10 to 12 adult teams will sign up for kickball, which most likely will start in August and continue into the fall.

Her staff is hiring instructors for the new programs and arranging for start times. For more details about descriptions, age requirements and how to register, she suggested going to the Parks Department’s website and Facebook.

As it has done for decades, the Parks Department is continuing a summer playground program, this year with four playgrounds and two rec centers opening June 24.

With a budget of $225,000, the Parks Department plans to hire about 48 summer seasonal employees. They include 24 to 30 lifeguards, 17 playground counselors and a person to handle athletic programs. It also hires instructors and coaches.

During Monday night’s meeting, council members also finalized the fees. They were introduced in May but revamped on council members’ instructions because they thought some programs would cost too much. They also wanted city residents to pay less than those who live outside the city.

T-ball and youth baseball will continue to be free for city residents, while those living outside Watertown will have to pay $20. Swimming lessons will cost $5 for Watertown residents and $20 for children living outside the city.

The fees for golf and tennis lessons for everyone are going up. Tennis will increase from $5 to $10 for Watertown residents and to $30 for those who live outside the city. Golf lessons will increase from $5 to $20 for city residents and to $50 for non-city residents.

The fishing clinic and children’s Zumba will cost $15 for city residents and $35 for non-city residents; family yoga, $10 and $35; youth running club, $5 and $20; scuba diving, $20 and $60; exercise boot camp, $20 and $50, and horseback riding, $20 and $60.

Mrs. Gardner took over the department last year after it had gone through some major financial problems under the former management team. She runs the department with program manager Celia E. Cook.

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