The town of Suffield has decided to charge out-of-town residents to use their beach after the area was trashed multiple times during the busy summer season.
Babb’s Beach opened in June after being out of service for about 20 years. A lot of work was put in to fix it up for public use, and when it first reopened it was free for all. But after significant trash issues over the Fourth of July weekend, town officials decided to put some restrictions in place.
“There was a significant amount of garbage, there were cigarette butts left in the sand that we had to meticulously maintained. So we knew we had to act definitively and to take action,” said Suffield First Selectman Melissa Mack.
Non-residents will be charged $20 to park a car of up to six people before 3 p.m. If they have more than six people, the town charges another $5 per person.
“There will be no charge for Suffield residents because they’re already paying to maintain the park through their taxes,” Mack explained.
The hope is that the cost will encourage beachgoers to respect the beach.
“I think it’s a great idea. As a mom of two kids you want to come to a clean beach and this is a place to come with little ones so I think it makes sense,” said Suffield resident Sarah Gamere.
There are also signs that ask the public to pick up their trash – and the town plans to start handing out trash bags, because a few weeks ago they had to remove trash cans after they were found dumped in the water.