STOW – As Gov. Mike DeWine lifts restrictions, the city has opened up its gardening program and is looking at opening other activities for residents, including special events in the days leading up to July 4.

Director of Parks & Recreation Linda Nahrstedt shared updates with the Stow Sentry on what is open, what is waiting on a date for opening and what remains closed.

The Community Gardens Program is up and running. Last year’s gardeners registered first, and earlier this week registration was opened to new gardeners. Currently the city has 61 registered for the garden program. Last year, there were 134 registrants.

The city is working on Fun in Stow Camp 2 Go day camp box and choosing a series of Drive In movies at Silver Springs Park – Silver Screen at Silver Springs.

"We are working diligently on an array of activities for the July Fourth timeframe, which is always an important time in our community," Nahrstedt said.

More information for Stow Strong Celebration will be coming in the future for activities that will run from July 1 through July 5, and will include three movie nights, a parade tribute, a pet look-a-like contest, a Community Canvas project, a patriotic chalk art event, a community scavenger hunt, and more.

The city is also working toward opening the campground; Pickleball courts at Adell Durbin Park and Silver Springs Park for open play; and the city is working with local sports organizations for their usage of ball fields at Silver Springs Park and Oregon Trail Park.

The Stow Senior Center and playgrounds are closed and will remain so, until there is further guidance from the state of Ohio.

Before opening an amenity, staff needs to be trained in the disinfection and sanitizing process that is necessary in accordance with the Responsible Restart mandates and best practices set forth by the state of Ohio, and the requirements set forth by Summit County Public Health.

The city needs to acquire the appropriate materials and supplies to protect staff and to sanitize and disinfect as well as the required signage and protocols needed to be in compliance.

Some of our amenities don’t necessarily fit nicely into the sectors/categories that have been drawn up by the State of Ohio, Nahrstedt said.

"So, in those cases, we are reaching out to hope to receive more clarity and guidance," Nahrstedt said. "And we don’t always get that. So it is more prudent for us to err on the side of caution than open an amenity without proper guidance."

The mission as parks and recreation professionals is to bring people together, and that is not really an option now, Nahrstedt said.

Gannett reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at lfreeman@recordpub.com