As a result of the impacts from COVID-19, the Idaho Falls Parks & Recreation Department has announced changes in service levels and activities that will impact facility availability as well as the way parks and open spaces are maintained as they head into the 2020 summer season.
With shutdowns, ongoing restrictions and related financial impacts, the department has been unable to hire their normal complement of seasonal workers, which has necessitated modifications to their normal operations.
“We are absolutely dedicated to the community and to our residents,” said Parks & Recreation Director PJ Holm. “This COVID-19 situation has impacted the city and our department just like it has everyone else. However, my staff and I are going to do everything that we can to make life as normal as possible this summer.”
In accordance with Governor Little’s phased plan to reopen the state, the Activity, and Recreation Centers are anticipated to be opened the week June 27th. They will open with social distancing guidelines and other health safety protocols in place. There has not yet been a determination on a date to open the Aquatic Center.
Storm ponds will be maintained once every 15 days. Grass around trees, borders, valve boxes, signs, and posts will be controlled by chemical edging, and trash will be picked up prior to mowing.
All sports fields will be mowed at the same time as the rest of the park property where they are located. No sports organizations will be charged to use the fields until the beginning of Governor Little’s third stage of reopening Idaho, which allows for gatherings up to 50. Tree and weed enforcement will be also be done as staffing and time allow.
The Idaho Falls Raceway at Noise Park will be closed for the year. There will be no motocross practices, races, or events, and no stock car events. The racetrack and horse stalls at Sandy Downs will also no longer be maintained.
The Skate Park and local playgrounds will remain closed for the time being. Parks and Recreation staff are closely monitoring both the CDC and the National Parks and Recreation Associating (NPRA) for recommendations on when and how to open those types of facilities as safely as possible.
However, the seven mile OHV trail at Noise Parks will remain open, giving dirt bike and ATV users a location near town to ride with family and friends. Riders must continue to adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“We take tremendous pride in our parks, trails and facilities,” said Holm. “Even though we have had to cut staff and cut back on the frequency of maintenance of our parks, open spaces and facilities, we are committed to do all we can to make the best summer possible for our residents.”
Parks and Recreation will be utilizing social media and updating their Facebook pages and website regularly with current information. They will also be sending out weekly e-mail updates about facilities and programs. To sign up for the updates, go to www.if.org and click on the “Discover Idaho Falls” poster to subscribe.
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Media note: For more information or to contact a member of city staff, please contact City of Idaho Falls Public Information Officer Bud Cranor at 208-612-8306.