Sebring Parks & Recreation
To Sebring & surrounding community,
On May 28, 2020 the Parks & Recreation Board met to discuss important items regarding the summer of 2020. These decisions were unanimously made by the board, with utmost care in understanding the immense importance of each item below. Due to the global impact of the Covid-19 virus, we believe these decisions are the wise course of action. We are hopeful everyone will understand the many elements that were taken into consideration in arriving at these conclusions.
1) 4th of July Celebration: The events of the 2020 4th of July Celebration have been canceled. We are reliant upon donations for the fireworks display, and are only $2,240 toward the $10,000 total cost of the fireworks display. The pandemic has impacted small businesses in our community and there are numerous concerns of an inability to reach the goal of the total cost. Beyond this, we also recognize that many other communities are canceling like events. We have added concerns of additional people coming to our community which creates problems with mandated social-distancing guidelines (recent past attendance at this event has been around 2,000-4,000 people – concerns of added attendees pose additional problems from a health & safety standpoint). This unknown risk creates potential problems that we believe many will understand. On a positive note, we are hopeful that those who provided donations will roll them over to 2021 (donors will be given that option) and we will come back stronger next summer, with a full array of all-day events leading up to the closing fireworks!
2) Community Pool: The Community Pool will remain closed for the 2020 season. As stated prior, concerns are primarily due to health and safety impact of the Covid-19 virus. The Ohio Department of Health released guidelines for Public Pools (revised May 26, 2020) that the Board has reviewed. There are 3 pages of many “mandates” along with “recommended best practices.” Some of those mandates come with added costs that are were not budgeted. Those added costs, the time it will take to align with them, are not feasible for the summer of 2020. Staff has been furloughed due to budget concerns for our village. Most importantly, the health, safety and well-being of our community takes precedent. We are not alone in this decision to close our pool as other communities are also doing so. There are added issues of monitoring social-distancing requirements and multiple procedures that have to be followed mandated by these state requirements. Financially, the inability to sell Pool Passes in advance of the season creates many unknowns from a financial standpoint. On a positive note, we will have the capability to roll funds over to the 2021 season and hopefully provide some necessary fixes & improvements (one of which is the ability to heat the pool).
3) Playgrounds, Courts & Other Activities: The Ohio Department of Health has still not permitted playground equipment to be used, nor courts to be used for sports activities – those also remain closed at this time. However, the walking trail is open for use, provided proper social-distancing requirements are followed. Again, these are state-mandated and we will be in full compliance with all orders given by the office of our Governor. As those change, they will be made immediately known.
4) Grounds: Two furloughed staff members will be brought back for the express purposes of mowing & groundskeeping. It is important to keep those in the best shape possible. The Board is concerned about the presentation of our Parks and you will begin to see improvements over the next week or so, as the weather allows.
We recognize these decisions will be met with various responses. We have done our best to take many elements into consideration – most of which is the safety, health and well-being of our community. We must also take into account the financial situation the village is in, and this pandemic has indeed played a role in that part of our community as well. We are not alone in these concerns as nearly every community is having to make hard decisions about this aspect of “everyday life.” However, we are hopeful this pandemic will come to an end, and 2021 will bring greater days ahead!
If you have any questions that this informational note did not answer, please contact any Parks & Recreation Board member and we would be happy to provide information.
Doug Horning, Chairman
Mike Harshman, Co-Chairman
Todd Brenner, Secretary
Megan Woods, Member
Joe Amabeli, Member
Beth Harris, Member