Newton’s Parks and Recreation Commission voted unanimously Monday night to spike a plan that would have opened up more swimming at Crystal Lake.
For months, commissioners have been discussing a citizen-driven proposal to allow swimming-at-your-own-risk at Crystal Lake, near Newton Centre.
On Monday night, the commission decided against holding a public hearing on the idea, essentially squashing it.
“In this case, we don’t approve of the proposal,” said Chairman Arthur Magni.
Magni said commissioners were swayed by the safety risks involved in allowing more swimming at the lake.
Crystal Lake, tucked in the middle of an upscale neighborhood, is a popular spot for sunbathers and swimmers during the summer.
The city allows swimming at certain times near the bathhouse, which is protected by lifeguards and maintained and run by the city’s parks and recreation department.
Last year, police increased patrols at Crystal Lake to stop swimmers from venturing outside the designated areas and two coves where lifeguards aren’t on watch. Some residents have also complained about swimmers causing a nuisance around their neighborhood.
Earlier this month, swimmers held a walk around the lake in support of swim-at-your-own-risk.
Deborah Fogel, who helped draft the open swimming proposal, said she and others are disappointed by the commission’s decision.
The commission “has taken no account of the wishes of many hundreds of Newton residents to have greater access to one of the city’s most precious public resources and enjoy the benefits of healthy exercise,” Fogel said in an e-mail.
Fogel said she is also disappointed that the commission urged the aldermen to seek the state Legislature's permission to levy a fine of up to $500 against swimmers caught outside designated areas.
Swimming proponents are discussing what other options they may have, Fogel said.
Deirdre Fernandes can be reached at email@example.com