Families in Readfield will have to go farther afield to find swimming lessons for their children this summer.

The Readfield Recreation Board of Trustees voted recently against offering that program this year and to reassess what has been a financial sinkhole.

“The vote was to take a year off and maybe find a sponsor in the future,” said Thomas Donegan, a board member who oversees the Readfield beach area and hires attendants. He said the decision came after the board made various efforts to try to cut costs.

“I’ve been involved since 2012, and it has never offset what we paid to have it,” Donegan said, emphasizing that the beach area and activities are not funded by taxpayers.

“We are financed completely by (user) fees,” he said. Donegan said the various programs offered by the board, which include softball and baseball, generally are self-supporting.

In prior years, the board has contracted with the Kennebec Valley YMCA, which organizes the swimming lessons for children in town age 3 or older and provides certified swimming instructors and a lifeguard.

“For 2013, we took in $1,062.32 and paid out $2,700,” Donegan said. “Last year we had a meeting and we went to the Y and renegotiated and got bill down to $900, but all we took in was $600.”

He also said participation in the swimming lessons has been dwindling as well.

Donegan said the board understood that some of the surrounding towns will continue to offer swimming lessons, as does the Kennebec Valley YMCA.

Lonny Steeves, director of the Winthrop Recreation Department, said 73 children are enrolled in a four-week swimming session there that started Wednesday, the day after school ended.

Fifty-two children already are enrolled in the department’s second session, which begins July 13. Children can be registered through the Winthrop YMCA.org site; a four-week session costs $10.

The Readfield Town Beach itself remains open. Information about beach access and fees is available on the town’s website at www.readfield.govoffice.com.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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