TWINSBURG – With the Twins Days committee having announced recently that it has decided to cancel this year’s festival, the fate of another popular event – Rock the Park – remains in limbo, as does whether the city’s outside swimming pool will be open.
During City Council’s April 28 meeting conducted via a remote hookup, Twinsburg Mayor Ted Yates eluded to the fact that because of the coronavirus crisis, many events that normally attract large gatherings around Ohio and the nation already have been canceled or are in danger of being canceled.
Yates said the Rock the Park concerts "are up in the air." He said the majority of them may be canceled, but the city might try to schedule one or two of them toward the end of summer, depending on what restrictions are put in place by state officials.
In addition to Twins Days, Councilman Greg Bellan said VFW Post 4929 will not conduct a parade and ceremony on Memorial Day, and Yates reported the city-sponsored summer camps will not take place.
"The parade and ceremony are very popular events, and we look forward to them returning in 2021," said Bellan.
"It’s just impossible to keep the kids and staff safe," Yates said about the summer camps. "It will be a challenging year for communities everywhere to decide whether camps will be offered."
Yates said the city has held off making a decision about whether the outdoor swimming pool will open this summer. "We’re not sure yet," he said. "We might be able to open for the latter part of summer."
Fitness center operations and senior center activities remain on hold pending recommendations from state officials, according to Yates. "There’s a possibility we could reopen the fitness center, but it would depend on whether we could move some equipment around to keep people away from each other," he said.
Not all of the city’s recreation opportunities are off-limits to residents, though. Yates said the community gardens, walking/jogging/biking trails, ballfields, tennis and pickleball courts and Gleneagles Golf Course are open, but there are some restrictions in place.
The golf course opened May 1 and is operating under state guidelines. Up until that time, Yates noted a lot of residents were walking around the course, and he urges them to be careful when walking there now that play has resumed.
Yates said city ballfields and tennis/pickleball courts are accessible as long as play is limited to a handful of people, not large gatherings. Social distancing should be practiced at all times, he noted.
As for city government operations, the mayor said he is looking forward to getting back to normalcy. Employees’ temperatures are being taken when they enter buildings, and surfaces and spaces are being sanitized regularly.
Visitors to City Hall must have appointments, and they must wear face masks. Employees also will wear masks when talking with visitors. Yates reminds residents that Waste Management is only picking up trash that is placed in proper containers. No loose items and bags outside of containers are being collected.
The mayor said he is looking ahead to the time when city government meetings again can be conducted in Council chambers. "Technology is great, but I’m looking forward to seeing Council reps and residents face-to-face," he said.
Councilman Sam Scaffide said since more people are out walking in neighborhoods now, homeowners should not park their cars across sidewalks in their driveways. "It’s best not to force people to walk or push baby carriages on the grass or in the street," he noted.
As for what coronavirus’ effect on city finances may be, Finance Director Sarah Buccigross said it is too early to tell. "We know unemployment will reduce our income tax revenue, but we don’t know to what extent," she said. "We are monitoring the situation closely. We thank individuals and businesses that have donated things to the city."
Yates said 85% of general fund revenue comes from income taxes. "I hope we can pull out of this economic downturn soon," he said. "I don’t know if we’ll totally get back to normal, but hopefully we can get close."
Yates previously said the city projects a 20 to 25% reduction in income tax revenue, which had been anticipated to be around $22 million.
Yates announced nearly a month ago that 36 employees have been laid off in light of the expected lower income tax revenue, including some police, fire and wastewater clerical and administrative employees.
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