Parks and Recreation Department outlines operational changes

Douglas Clark
 
| Amarillo Globe-News

Amarillo Parks and Recreation Department officials have outlined a series of operational revisions in the wake of the city’s increase in positive COVID-19 cases and the rising hospitalization rate.

“We’ve made some changes to our operations,” said Michael Kashuba, the city’s Parks and Recreation Department director. “The city is not reducing services, but basically the delivery would be a little bit different, so if someone needs to come to City Hall, we would be delivering things down to them or bringing them up on an individual basis.”

With regard to parks, Kashuba offered the following:

“All of our parks do remain open,” he said. “At this point, we are discontinuing activities that would cause congregation of groups of more than 10. So we have discontinued reservations of park rentals and also athletic competitions. The reason, again, is to reduce those gatherings of greater than 10.”

Kashuba said golf courses will not be conducting tournaments, but will continue to accept individual play and the Warford Activity Center remains open for general use.

“That means people can use the normal facilities, with the limitation of no more than 10 people in the gym or in the pool area,” he said. “Also, the Amarillo Zoo is open for general public use, but, again, we’re not allowing groups over 10.”

Per Kashuba, the format outlined will be observed for the foreseeable future. 

“Under the guidance of the city manager we’ll look at starting to release these at some point,” he said, noting the Amarillo National Tennis Center is under the same operational procedure as golf, the Warford Activity Center and the zoo. “It’s individual play, not allowing tournament play, leagues, those types of things. We’re just scaling it back appropriately so that we can make sure that the community stays safe. We want to be good stewards and good partners. With the current stress on our medical environment, we want to make sure that we’re limiting the impacts as much as possible.”

Kashuba said presently all leagues are in a frozen state.

“We’re waiting to see the impacts on our community,” he said. “Until further notice,  we’re basically freezing all of our leagues, rec programs and gatherings of 10 or more. We want to encourage passive use. We want people to get out and walk in the park and want them to do so responsibly. What we don’t want is those large group gatherings. We want to make sure that people can get out, walk in the park and get some fresh air. We still want people to have access to the parks.” 

City Manager Jared Miller previously indicated steps were being taken to adjust service delivery to reduce in-person interaction for staff and citizens — noting the effort did not reflect a shut down, adding the city would continue to provide services either remotely or curbside. 

Miller said the city would continue to provide online services, telephone services and with regard to utility billing, which is housed within City Hall, there will be curbside service and an outdoor payment kiosk.

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