, Newburyport, MA

September 5, 2013

Officials to discuss condition of Frog Pond


---- — NEWBURYPORT — City officials and members of the volunteer Bartlet Mall Commission are planning to meet soon to discuss strategy to clean the Frog Pond there.

There does not appear to be consensus on how — and when — to proceed.

Commission members are committed to cleaning the centuries-old body of water.

After reviewing analysis by local scientists, commissioners made recommendations that included a request to the city not to cut the grass on hillsides near the pond so grass could filter grime and detritus that flows down from the walkway near the courthouse and from around the pond.

Also, commissioners suggested that signs be erected asking visitors with pets to refrain from permitting animals to eliminate near the water.

Commission Chairman Walt Thompson, in messages to Lise Reid, parks administrator, said, “Now that we know the pond has such a high coliform count, there is even more reason not to trim along the water.

“This is so kids do not get sick.”

Reid and other city officials, including Anthony Furnari, head of the Department of Public Services, have been monitoring the situation.

In a message to Thompson on Tuesday, Reid said, “After consulting with colleagues in the Planning Office and the Department of Public Services, I would like to see a broader discussion about reducing grass maintenance at the Mall ... among the concerns are resident complaints about the appearance of the park as well as hesitancy about creating a vegetative barrier to the pond.”

Reid said that she would put the grass-cutting item on the agenda for the next Parks Commission meeting, slated for Thursday, Sept. 19.