STOW – The parks and recreation department are planning alternative ideas and activities for residents.
Parks and recreation director Linda Nahrsted said the city will have to look at restrictions after Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement about opening campgrounds on May 21; gyms and recreation centers May 26; limited contact sports and pools May 26; and child care and day camps May 31.
"The governor’s announcements sent shockwaves across all parks and recreation departments," Nahrsted said May 14 at the city Council meeting.
Mayor John Pribonic said the state may have approved opening different activities but the city also falls under the guidance of the Summit County Health Department.
"We’re looking to open as many things as we can but keep residents safe," Pribonic said. "We want to provide those services but there is a chain of command from state to Summit County Health Department and us."
Although the city may be able to have more activities by the end of month, the strict protocol may be difficult to implement, Nahrsted said.
The city will look at the Silver Springs campground first to get it up and running, she said. Day camp may remain canceled, she added.
"The protocols are almost impossible so unless something is different, I don’t know how we can implement a day camp that is fun and safe," Nahrsted said.
Some of the mandates include no field trips, no shared equipment, no playground, no pools and washing hands all day long.
"It’s not something we can do cost effectively and safely," Nahrsted said.
The Center of Disease Control has guidelines about transfer of COVID-19 from people to animals so the city can’t allow pets and owners at Bow Wow Park without strict guidelines. Once the city has more information, it will update the community.
"We are looking at reservations and small groups at a time," Nahrsted said. "We have a lot of users who would like to get back to it."
The city would like more information about how animals are affected by the virus. So far the CDC recommends pets not interact with people or animals outside the household; maintain 6 feet distance from other people and animals; and avoid dog parks or public places where a large number of people and dogs gather.
Basketball is the biggest program for the city but it is not listed on the limited contact sports lists, she said. The tennis courts and playgrounds remain closed.
"If there are any changes, we’ll look at it," Nahrsted said.
The city of Stow is encouraging residents to visit cemeteries for Memorial Day. A wreath will be placed at the Doughboy on the City Center Campus and Acker Moore VFW Post 4738 will have a private ceremony.
The city is promoting programs like a community scavenger hunt; drive-in movie theater; and a Fourth of July tribute. Seniors have a lending cart, Senior Sneakers live online and a senior newsletter filled with puzzles. Young people have a craft in the box with a different theme each week.
Pribonic congratulated the five winners from the first scavenger hunt, which he said was well received.
The Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library can’t have a books and puzzles sale so they donated several boxes of books and puzzles to the Senior Center Center, 3968 Darrow Road. Seniors can borrow books and puzzles from the Lending Cart on Mondays and Thursdays from noon to 2 p.m. The cart will be outside and seniors are asked to take one item from the top of the cart. They should return items to the bottom of the cart. A program assistant will be inside the building.
In addition, the Graduation Senior Banner Program will have 300 banners honoring local high school graduates displayed at the Stow City Center through Aug. 1.
Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org