Framingham Parks & Recreation COVID-19 Updates and Re-opening Guidelines
As the response to COVID-19 continues, please know that Framingham Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs Department is taking the necessary steps to ensure the safety of residents and employees. We intend on opening recreational facilities in a phased approach based on the State Guidelines, guidance from our Mayor’s Office and the Department of Health. The health and well-being of all our residents and employees is of utmost importance.
Recent reductions in part time and seasonal staff continue to slow down our Department's ability to reopen facilities and perform routine maintenance. We appreciate your patience and understanding at this time.
CURRENT PHASE OF RE-OPENING: Phase IV, Step I
For information on Recreation Programs we are offering, please visit www.FraminghamRec.com
March 25, 2021 Update: Athletic Fields
The Parks and Recreation Department is excited, as you are, to open the athletic fields this spring. We are all eager to get back outdoors and start competing after a long winter and pandemic. With the weather beginning to change, our Department has been receiving multiple inquiries into when fields will be ready for play this season. We are reaching out to all of the user groups to explain the current condition of the athletic fields this time of year and outline what we are doing to prepare for the spring season. We are seeking your help to get you on the fields a quickly as possible without sacrificing the condition of the field and the safety of our athletes. Playing on a field too early, before the grass or clay is fully dry, could result in the need for additional maintenance delaying access for a portion of the season.
As the temperature increases and fields become clear of snow, the subsurface will begin to thaw from a deep freeze. As the ground warms, the surface will be over-saturated from freezing and thawing from the winter snow. Rain events are common in April and unfortunately, this makes it difficult for the grass to completely dry out, creating an unsafe playing surface. The subsurface temperatures are slowly rising, allowing for grass to once again come to life and begin to grow. For a proper athletic field to be ready to use, the subsurface temperatures must be at 55 degrees for a few weeks to allow growth and rootzones to gain strength and provide a resilient surface suited for athletic activity.
Once the fields and clay are dry, our Parks Maintenance crews perform seasonal maintenance to help with the growth and sustainability of fields, ensuring a safe playing surface for our 70,000 plus residents. Until these steps occur, fields are not ready and will not be released for permitting. Historically, we are in a position to permit fields for use from the second to the third week in April. This is all weather and subsurface driven and out of our control for the most part. Additionally, each field is different by location and subsurface. Some fields dry faster than others due to subsurface drainage and soil compaction; while other fields take longer to dry and reestablish following the winter freeze. Throughout all this, our infields and sand/clay surface also require time to properly drain and dry in preparation for the season. This too is subject to weather and subsurface temperatures. The Park maintenance crew may lightly rake the clay infields to assist mother nature in the drying process. The use of the infields when wet is not only unsafe but it will create holes in the clay that will very difficult to rake out when the clay is dry enough to maintain. Please resist the temptation to try to push water off an infield. It will only push the clay and sand into the grass, making the edges unsafe, and creating a hole for more water to gather the next time it rains.
Thank you for your patience and understanding!
March 18, 2021 Update: Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Phase IV of Reopening Plan
The City of Framingham has opened Bowditch Track, Basketball and Tennis Courts. All visitors are asked to follow all COVID-19 guidelines to keep everyone safe.
March 1, 2021 Update: City of Framingham has re-opened the SkatePark on Dudley Road. Skaters are asked to wear face masks, and practice social distancing. Please DO NOT CLEAR ANY SNOW OR ICE from the park as it will damage the skate surface.
Effective March 1, 2021: City of Framingham has re-opened the SkatePark on Dudley Road. Skaters are asked to wear face masks, and practice social distancing. Please DO NOT CLEAR ANY SNOW OR ICE from the park as it will damage the skate surface.
Effective November 6, 2020: The Baker Polito Administration has issued an order requiring all residents, five years or older, to wear a mask/face covering (covering the mouth and nose) while at ALL indoor and outdoor public spaces, regardless of social distancing. Violation of this order may result in a civil fine of up to $300 per violation.
Effective October 16, 2020:
-Parks & Recreation Administration Building: Parks & Recreation Administration Building located at 475 Union Ave continues to be open from 9:00am to 4:00pm for walk in visits. Please contact the Department at 508-532-5960 for more detailed information.
- Park & Facility Use: While City Parks and Facilities remain open to the public, several restrictions have been put in place to help stop the spread of COVID and ensure a safe environment. Some of these restrictions include the closure of the basketball courts and skate park as well as the implementation of masks being worn during all permitted activities. For facility-specific questions, please contact our office at 508-532-5960.
- Recreation Programs: The Parks & Recreation Department has adjusted their schedule to accommodate for safe and exciting programming this Fall. Some programs will be offered in-person, others will be offered virtually. For in-person classes, there are strict COVID procedures in place, oftentimes more robust than the state recommendations. There are very limited class sizes and registration has been restricted to Framingham Residents only. Please make sure to read each program description carefully. Some adjustments to our typical programs have been made to accommodate the current situation. Please visit; www.FraminghamRec.com for the latest and most up to date programs and COVID procedures.
- Park & Field Permits - Field permits are currently being issued for a wide range of activities. Prior to issuance of a permit, the requester must submit a proposed COVID Management Plan to the Department for review. The proposed Management Plan must follow the specific guidance issued by Governor Baker for the relevant reopening phase/activity. The Framingham Public Health Department will also review the proposed Management Plan for adherence prior to the issuance of a permit through our Department. Furthermore, there are several additional restrictions placed on field usage that are available upon request. If you are interested in applying for a field usage permit, please email Parks.Recreation@framinghamma.gov or call 508-532-5960.
- Callahan Senior Center - The Senior Center is not currently open to the public. However, there are many programs available for people, 55+, on Zoom and by phone. Please call 508-532-5980, or check the latest issue of the Courier newsletter at; www.framinghamma.gov/360/council-on-aging for more information.
*SHINE appointments for Medicare Open enrollment will be by phone. Please call 508-532-5980 for an appointment.
*Volunteers are available by phone to teach people how to use Zoom.
*Social Services staff are available by phone to assist with fuel assistance, funding assistance for taxi transportation beyond Framingham’s borders, food stamp applications for people 55+, and for other pressing needs. In-person appointments with Social Service staff can be arranged, as needed, if scheduled in advance.
*Transportation is available! – The Callahan Center van is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 to 3:30 for destinations within Framingham. If you are already registered, please contact the MWRTA Call Center 508–420-4650 to schedule your ride. If you have not yet registered to use this service, please contact the Callahan Center at 508-532-5980.
- Loring Arena - Loring Arena is currently open to rental groups only. Public Skate, Stick Time, and Skate Rentals are not available at this time. All rental groups, and participants, must follow the COVID Management Plan listed on the Loring Arena website as well as present a Management Plan for their usage to Loring Arena Management prior to approval of contract. Proposed Management Plans are also reviewed by the Framingham Public Health Department for adherence. For more information, please visit; https://www.framinghamma.gov/678/Loring-Arena
Effective August 28, 2020: In response to the recent uptick of positive COVID-19 cases in Framingham, effective immediately, the City will begin to close recreational facilities, including basketball courts, Farm Pond Skate Park, and other facilities as necessary. These steps are being taken to combat the spread of the virus and discourage people from gathering at the facilities.
Please remember to keep a distance of 6 feet or more from another person, wear a face covering over both your nose and mouth, wash hands frequently with soap and water, do not gather in large groups, and stay home if you are not feeling well. For more info on how to stop the spread and how to get tested for COVID-19 we invite you to visit the Public Health Department's page HERE
Effective July 13, 2020: The following Framingham Recreational Facilities will begin to re-open:
-Athletic Fields: following Governor Baker’s guidance, the Parks Department will begin issuing permits for games as fields become available (some are expected to open Monday). Teams will be required to follow the Centers for Disease Control, Energy and Environmental Affairs, and local Public Health requirements. We are requiring all permit requests to include a COVID-19 management plan that incorporates the requirements from the Governor's Phase III, Part I guidance as well as the guidance from the CDC and EEA. Once received, the request will be reviewed by the Parks & Recreation Department and Public Health Department. Please contact the Department at (508) 532-5960 for field permitting information and COVID-19 related restrictions.
- Parks & Recreation Administration Building, 475 Union Avenue, open 9 a.m.-4 p.m., for walk-in visits. Face coverings are required. Residents are asked to practice social distancing. Please contact the Department for additional information at (508) 532-5960.
Beginning June 29, 2020 the following Framingham Recreational Facilities will begin to re-open:
- City Basketball Courts - open daily until dusk, lighted courts until 10 p.m. (Skills and drills allowed. No games, scrimmages or tournaments until further notice.)
- Athletic Fields and Permits - various locations, please call 508-532-5960 for information. (Group size limited to 12 including coaches. No games, scrimmages, or tournaments until further notice.)
- City Beaches - will open the week of June 29. Lifeguards will staff beaches July 1-August 9, 2020, 7 days/wk from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. BEACH TAGS ARE REQUIRED. Register for a free resident beach tag beginning Friday, June 26.
- Summer Recreation Program - registration is now open for residents only. Please visit www.framinghamrec.com for offerings and updates.
Per Governor Baker’s Order and the City of Framingham’s Emergency Order, face coverings will be required for entry into any City facility. Residents are also asked to practice social distancing.
Beginning June 22, 2020 the following Framingham Recreational Facilities will begin to re-open:
- Playgrounds - Cleaning will happen weekly at Parks Department playgrounds
- Field Permits for drills and skills only to specific permit holders. Group sizes restricted to 10 athletes and 2 coaches. Those who historically pull permits for games only (EMass Softball; men’s/women/s soccer groups; route 9 softball; etc) will not be issued permits until Phase IV when games/tournaments/competitions can continue.
- Permits for outdoor fitness, yoga, etc. classes with restrictions. We will waive normal permit fee for the summer/fall season.
For any questions in regards to Field Permits, please contact Nicole Leone at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beginning June 15, 2020 the following Framingham Recreational Facilities will begin re-opening with guidance:
Tennis Courts - Open daily until dusk, lighted courts open until 10 PM. Usage guidelines found here.
Bowditch Track - Open daily until 10 PM. Usage guidelines found here.
Bocce Courts, Farm Pond Park - Open until dusk. Usage guidelines found here.
Pratt Street Community Gardens - Open until dusk. Usage guidelines found here.
Farm Pond Skate Park - Open until dusk. Usage guidelines found here.
Parks and Recreation Summer Programs, Please visit www.framinghamrec.com for updates
Special Message to Parks Users: While parks and trails remain open for passive recreation, please be respectful of others, dispose of pet waste and litter appropriately (if waste receptacles are full, please take it with you), practice social distancing (at least 6 feet), cover coughs and sneezes, wear a mask or facecloth when entering any buildings or when social distancing is not possible, and stay home if ill. The more people follow the recommended preventative guidelines, the faster we can return to our "normal" activities.
Rest assured, your dedicated Parks & Recreation Staff is here for you, we can be reached by phone, 508-532-5960, or by email during regular business hours. Feel free to follow us on Instagram and Facebook and check out our fun activities for your family to enjoy.
Go to www.framinghamrec.com for information on Recreation programs we are offering this summer.
Stay Safe & Be Well!! #StopTheSpread