MASSENA — When the Massena Town Beach opens for public swimming on Saturday, one thing will be missing — the parking fee.
There’s normally a $5 parking fee, but that’s gone this year thanks to funding by the New York Power Authority. A season pass for Massena and Louisville residents has typically cost $60, while a non-resident season pass has been $90.
“NYPA’s St. Lawrence-FDR power project has beautiful recreation facilities, and as the weather warms up and more New Yorkers and visitors begin to move around outside, we wanted to make it 100% free for people to enjoy the Massena beach by eliminating parking costs,” Bryant Bullard, NYPA regional manager for Northern New York said.
Offering free parking has been a topic of discussion at past Massena Town Council meetings. The issue was brought up by Deputy Supervisor Samuel D. Carbone Jr. during the board’s June 2020 meeting, at a time when the beach was opening for the summer. He wondered if there was any inclination to not charge for parking.
Town Supervisor Steven D. O’Shaughnessy also agreed.
“I brought this up before,” he said during that meeting. “They don’t charge at Barnhart Beach to park. I’d like to visit that sometime.”
Barnhart Beach is operated by the state, while the Massena Joint Recreation Department oversees operations at the Massena Town Beach.
Mr. O’Shaughnessy also noted that some people skirted the daily parking fee by parking at another location and walking to the beach.
That won’t be necessary this summer, according to a Facebook post by the Massena Recreation Department that notes the beach will be open for swimming from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends only starting Saturday. They will open daily starting June 25.
The park is open for picnics until 3 p.m. weekdays until June 25. Pavilions can be rented or reserved for $50 for the entire day by calling the Massena Recreation Department at 315-769-3161.
Mr. Carbone said he was happy to see the fee removed.
“Last year after a long spring of the pandemic and isolation, I was looking for places to help people get out and enjoy our beautiful surroundings in the Massena area. I had thought for a long time that the beach should be free and everyone should have access to the St. Lawrence River, and this is how the NYPA helps people gain access by providing these facilities,” he said.
He said that, after many meetings, Recreation Director Michael McCabe was able to finalize an agreement for the 2021 beach season.
“It is nice to see this come together and allow totally free access. Thank you to the Massena Joint Recreation for understanding and the help to make this work out for our north country residents and visitors,” Mr. Carbone said.