Parks and Recreation Department works to deal with COVID-19 |

Parks and Recreation Department works to deal with COVID-19

The Parks and Rec Department is working on balancing the winter weather with the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Lions and Mountaineers squared off as part of Craig Parks and Recreation's youth basketball league in 2019.
The Lions and Mountaineers squared off as part of Craig Parks and Recreation's youth basketball league in 2019.

As COVID-19 cases rise the Craig Parks and Recreation Department is working on ways to keep community members active and outside. And despite Old Man Winter’s growing presence, the Parks and Rec department is working on developing programs for all ages, including snowshoeing.

Parks and Recreation Director Ryan Dennison said the key to success is to be adaptable. When COVID-19 first hit, Dennison said they had to quickly go to a contingency plan for the swimming complex and follow state and local guidelines in all their programming.

Since then, Parks and Rec has continued working to help the community. They hosted the Gravy Train 5K Fun Run/Walk on Nov. 21 at Loudy-Simpson Park. The event allowed the department to have some programming despite this trying time.The $150 raised and food donations were given to The Inter-Faith Food Bank.

Dennison and his team are working on planning out the spring and summer of 2021, which they hope will be free from COVID-19 concerns. If it does get interrupted, they still plan to maintain programming during the warmer seasons, by “adapting to new ways to connect with the community, a lot of different ways, hoping to connect, hoping to unveil our map network. We just updated our urban trail system, really hoping to promote outdoor trails to get those publicized for our community and visitors.”

The Parks and Rec department has had a tough year, similar to everybody else, but Dennison said they know what they need to do to bounce back better than ever next year.

“I think it’s just about being organized and coming collectively as a team to make sure we’re providing those resources,” he said “….we’re a vital resource to our community.”

Continuing with their hard work and a positive outlook will also help Parks and Rec continue to best serve residents in the future.

“(We are) having to adapt to those changes and just really promote parks and recreation and why there is such a need for that,” Dennison said. “But ultimately to strive to adapt to the ever changing situation.”

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