Campers enjoy Red, White, and Blue Day at Durham Recreation's Summer Playground in 2013. | Mark Dionne\Town Times.

Durham Recreation to move Summer Playground camp

Durham Recreation Director Sherry Hill has a busy summer planned for her department, including new and returning programs and a new location for the Summer Playground camp.

The Summer Playground, the recreation camp for children in grades one through seven, has traditionally been located at Allyn Brook Park. Because of a construction project expected to close Pickett Lane for the summer, the Summer Playground will take place at John Lyman Elementary School in Middlefield.

“We’re going to have our program over there. The town wants us to keep this area clear,” Hill said.

The construction project, funded with state Small Town Economic Assistance Program funds, is an extensive repair of the culvert located just west of the Allyn Brook Park pavilion. According to initial plans, the park will be accessible from the western end of Pickett Lane by a walkway and by car by way of Maiden Lane.

Hill originally hoped to hold the summer program at Brewster Elementary in Durham, but found too many activities there. “John Lyman was available to us solely,” Hill said.

Many of the themed days and activities will be transferred to the new location, although the absence of a brook will force one change. Instead of using the water for cooling on especially hot days, campers will use the Lyman gym.

Recreation member Sharon Criscuolo said the facility made sense for the program. Criscuolo liked that the area for the camp would be set back from the road and noted that the camp could take advantage of Lyman’s nature trail and “very nice playground.”

Summer Playground will remain on Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays, from 9 a.m. to noon. The Little People program will also make the switch. Both programs are open to Durham residents.

The Recreation summer calendar features many other returning summer programs, including the Women’s Fun Softball League, the Track and Field Clinic, and the elementary and middle school football clinics.

Tuesday night Fun Runs starting July 1 at the Coginchaug Regional High School Track. Cooking Camp, a new program, will have two sessions, one July 15 and 16 and one July 22 and 23. Hill said that instructor Christine Firth will use a different menu for each session.

More information about recreation programs, including information about any fees, is available on Durham’s website.

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