Urbana Park District will cancel programs and events through July 31 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since March, Urbana Park District has been working with local public health officials and other medical experts to see how we can safely hold our programs during COVID-19,” said Tim Bartlett, Executive Director. “Our overriding factor in determining to hold programs and opening our buildings is the health and safety of our employees and patrons,” he added.
Factors in Summer Planning
This month, Governor J.B. Pritzker has outlined the five-stage plan to reopen Illinois in the midst of COVID-19 called Restore Illinois.
Based on the Governor’s five-stage plan, it is very likely that the central Illinois region will not be ready for large group gatherings this summer.
The park district hires over 200 seasonal life guards, camp counselors and support staff each summer. If Illinois were to completely open tomorrow, the park district would still have to hire people. It takes several weeks to interview, hire and train summer staff.
UPD summer plans through July 31
While some park district programs and services can be adapted as the summer unfolds, the logistics of initiating large-scale programs mid-season are too formidable.
After weighing all the factors, and with the support of the Urbana Park District Board of Commissioners, the park district has decided the following:
- Aquatics – There will be no summer pool season at Crystal Lake Park Family Aquatic Center or Urbana Indoor Aquatic Center. All aquatics programs (swim lessons, swim teams, exercise programs) canceled through July 31.
- Summer Camps – There will be no summer camps this year. This includes Nature, Aquatics, Sports, Arts, Youth Summer Theatre and specialty camps.
- Adult Recreation – All adult recreation programs canceled through July 31.
- Youth Sports – All youth sports canceled through July 31.
- Adult and senior programming – All programs and classes (including fitness classes) canceled through July 31.
- Special events – All park district summer events (Strawberry Jam, Neighborhood Nights, etc.) canceled through July 31.
- Pavilion and facility rentals – No rentals accepted through July 31.
The park district will issue refunds to anyone who has already paid for a canceled program.
What is open this summer?
All park district parks are open; however all playgrounds, basketball and volleyball courts are closed.
The community garden plots are still open for rent.
The tennis courts and dog park are open, but please read and follow all safety rules.
If things improve (and if approved by public health officials), the park district could hold special, free “pop-up” events. The park district would publicize those events on social media.
Park district personnel are creating lessons and programs for kids and adults, and posting those programs on social media.
August 1 and fall plans
Urbana Park District’s post-August 1 plans depend on where our community falls within the five phases of Restore Illinois, and subject to advice from local public health officials.
“We deeply feel the loss of our summer programs,” said Corky Emberson, Superintendent of Recreation. “COVID-19 is stopping our mission to serve the community. It is a mission we passionately believe in. But, we would be irresponsible if we put everyone in danger by ignoring COVID-19 and expert health advice.”
The public can follow Urbana Park District on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and on UrbanaParks.org for the latest planning information.
“We miss you all and we will all be together again soon,” Bartlett concluded.