Jasper unveils summer park and rec plan


JASPER — Jasper Park & Recreation offerings will look a little different this summer.

At the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday evening, members heard the details of an extensive plan regarding how certain facilities will reopen in the near future, and how some activities will be modified or canceled during the warmer months.

“This is the way it’s set now,” Ken Buck, the park and recreation department director, said after the meeting. “But as this virus continues on, things could possibly change in the future.”

The Jasper Municipal Swimming pool is set to open at half capacity for the season on Sunday, May 24. Three hundred guests will be permitted in the facility at one time, until it can fully open on July 4.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Indiana State Department of Health guidelines will be followed at the site; concession stand and ticket booth workers will wear gloves and masks and plexiglass shields will be installed in those areas. Equipment will be sanitized periodically and chairs will be spaced 6 feet apart. The pool will operate seven days a week from noon to 6 p.m.

The department’s annual Camp C.A.R.E. and Kamp 4 Kids will not be held this year.

“We debated, and debated and debated on those,” Buck said, explaining that socially distancing participants would be difficult. Leadership didn’t want to call off the events, but they felt they had to for safety reasons, and Buck added that many Indiana park departments are also canceling their camps.

In addition to those cancellations, the department’s scheduled summer programs will also be scrapped. These include recreational activities like homerun hitting contests, kickball games and more that are offered for children. Some activities, however, will shift to a virtual format.

Park equipment and splash pads will reopen on Sunday, May 24. This means playgrounds; picnic tables; as well as facilities like basketball, tennis and pickleball courts will be available for use. They will be sanitized daily.

The Jasper City Mill is also slated to reopen on May 24. Gov. Eric Holcomb’s safety guidelines will be followed at that location.

City sports leagues will be allowed to practice and play beginning Sunday, June 14 — following social distancing precautions.

The reopening plan for the Older Americans Center will be determined by the beginning of June. Buck said that caution is being taken with that decision because the center’s attendees are more susceptible to COVID-19 complications. The current plan is to reopen the banquet room at the site on June 15.

Buffalo Trace Golf Course is up and running, and the pro shop will open to a limited capacity this weekend. Ruxer Golf Course has been decommissioned and is no longer available for play.

Currently, leadership is aiming for the Spirit of Jasper to depart for a train ride on July 25. Capacity restrictions could be in place, and like everything mentioned in this story, that date is subject to change.

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