With the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to loosen its grip on the community, the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department is moving forward with spring and summer programs.
On Monday, the parks board voted 5-0 to allow the department to begin planning and advertising for several events and sports leagues.
“Our goal is to increase programming for all ages,” said Stacy Findley, parks director. “Folks want to see more things to do for all ages. We met with the health department and they agree that folks need more normalcy. We need to start getting back to some kind of activity level.”
One upcoming event in the works is the annual community Easter egg hunt at Gaiser Park. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 3 and is open to children ages 0-12.
A new event being planned for May 11 is a Sips and Succulents workshop for adults where participants will get to try different beers and wines at Vat and Barrel in downtown Seymour and create a succulent planter.
Future activities include a Pampered Tea for moms and daughters, an outdoor event for dads and sons, the return of Trivia Night and the monthly in-person Kids Corner craft and story time for young children.
Summer softball and volleyball leagues will resume along with adult and youth kickball.
To be able to have events, the parks department has to submit a COVID-19 safety plan for approval by the Jackson County Health Department.
Board member Tim Ferret said it’s likely events will have better participation than ever before because there hasn’t been anything to do for the past year.
In a separate motion, the board voted 3-1 to reopen the Seymour Community Center in downtown Seymour for more private rentals, exercise classes and to host events sponsored by the parks department. It will not reopen for senior citizen programming at this time, Findley said.
Board President Monica Boyer cast the only dissenting vote saying she wanted to see the board wait until April before considering reopening the center to see if the governor extends the emergency order currently in place. Board member Kendra Zumhingst left the meeting before the vote was taken.
Board member Bethany Rust voiced her support for going back to normal including reopening the community center.
“I have strong feelings for opening it now,” she said. “Everything is going so well, I think maybe we should capitalize on it.”
The parks department already has a waiting list of people and groups wanting to rent the community center, said parks administrative assistant Tonya Disque.
“My problem is that yes, everybody wants to, but everybody wanted to this time last year. Just because people want to, it doesn’t mean they should,” Boyer said.
Board member Art Juergens said he didn’t see anything wrong with reopening the center as long as groups that want to use it supply the parks department with a COVID safety plan to be approved by the health department.
Ferret said he felt the decision should be made by the mayor or the city council rather than the parks board.
“I think we’re stressing a lot about a very small space,” Mayor Matt Nicholson said. “There comes a point where we have to move forward and open back up.”