No doubt about it: This summer in Canby will not be entirely normal. But things will take one small step in that direction today, as park facilities and play areas plan to fully reopen to the public Wednesday afternoon — after being closed over two months.
“Canby Community Park opened up to car access yesterday, and the Parks team is cleaning and removing signage on all play structures this morning,” Mayor Brian Hodson told the Canby Now Podcast Wednesday morning. “All city parks will be 100 percent open for use by the end of the day.”
While green space in the city’s parks has remained open throughout the pandemic, Community Park on the Molalla River has been closed to vehicular traffic since March 25.
City officials said the move was “to support social distancing,” meaning to discourage large groups from congregating during the early days of the public health crisis. Residents could still visit the park and fishing hole, but they had to park elsewhere and hike in.
Play areas, public restrooms and other park facilities have been closed citywide for just as long, due to the difficulty of sterilizing them after each use.
As the weather gets warmer and drier, Oregonians who have obeyed the stay-home orders for months are increasingly desperate for a little fresh air, sunshine and some semblance of normalcy in a season wrecked by the Covid-19 situation. Interim City Administrator Amanda Zeiber seemed to understand this.
“We know the community is anxious to return to some outdoor activities in this warm weather,” she said. “Last week, we opened park restrooms and parks staff are cleaning and disinfecting several times a week.”
The one facility whose future remains uncertain is the city’s long-awaited splash pad at Maple Street Park. It is on track for completion by July 4, but it’s unknown if it will open to the public on that day.
Zeiber said the decision has not yet been made, but could come shortly.
As these areas reopen, the city is encouraging families to follow “common sense” hygiene and safety practices while using park facilities, including physical distancing and frequent hand washing (which, FYI, is a great idea after visiting a public bathroom even when there’s not a contagious virus going around).
“Use liquid sanitizer to clean hands after playing on the equipment, wash hands upon returning home, wear masks if you and your family choose to,” said Mayor Hodson. “Social distance when possible and if other families request it. Finally, run and have fun!”