Letter: Pavilion gives access to greatest asset
Fairfield has five beaches along our coastline -- Jennings, Penfield, South Pine Creek, Sasco and Southport. These beaches are available to all our residents. The Parks and Recreation Department has a comprehensive plan for these assets. Their vision is to provide a complete range of alternatives for our residents.
Pine Creek Beach is the smallest and provides the fewest features. Southport and Sasco beaches are larger and provide a minimum in amenities such as a food truck concession for beachgoers. Jennings beach is the largest stretching from the Marina with fishing, kayaking and boating to the private Fairfield Beach Club. Jennings provides services and rest rooms along with a modest pavilion. Penfield provides the most in services with a full service Pavilion including a large covered deck, lockers and changing rooms, an expanded concession stand, plus handicap-accessible walkways and bathrooms.
Fairfield's most dramatic and compelling asset is our coastline, beaches, harbors, marina and fishing pier. These assets should be shared and enjoyed by all residents. The Penfield I pavilion makes Fairfield unique with a one-of-a kind facility. It adds value to our town.
For the last 30 years, our town has enjoyed both Penfield I and Penfield II (the Jacky Durrell Pavilion). Penfield I was a private beach club until purchased by the town. Penfield II was built in the 1980s recognizing the need even back then for a second option. Penfield II is not heated and is only used during the warmer months. It has a capacity for approximately 125 guests. It just meets the minimum for handicap accessibility. Most importantly, it is not open to the public and is only available to those people or groups that pay to rent it. It has no shaded deck. It is not easy for seniors or disabled persons to access.
Penfield I is open to all residents. It provides a large shaded deck. It provides handicap-accessible walkways and restrooms to ease access for seniors and disabled persons. It has a large concession stand. It has lockers and changing rooms. Most importantly, all these areas are open to the public daily -- not just to those people that rent the large gathering room. Penfield I is heated and can be used year round.
Penfield I's gathering room can be rented out, providing a reasonably priced facility that can be used for celebrations, reunions, youth-sports-team parties, weddings and other special events. This lets those residents that don't belong to a private club have a place to bring together family, friends and neighbors to enjoy each other's company. There is no other place that allows those residents that don't live in the beach area to enjoy Fairfield's most precious natural resource -- our shoreline.
Simply, Penfield Pavilion fits perfectly into the overall vision and plan for our shoreline. It provides the opportunity for everyone in town to share our beach. This was why the town acquired it in the first place and why we still need it today.
Town of Fairfield