The City of Riverbank Parks and Recreation Department will reopen some of their programs beginning on April 12. With the recommendations from the public health department and adhering to safety protocols Sue Fitzpatrick, Director of Parks and Recreation, and staff are prepared for the opening of the Teen Center, Tot Time, swim team, swim lessons, day camps, and park reservations.
“We are excited to begin programs again but are going to take it slow to be sure all protocols are followed and we keep the community and our staff safe,” stated Fitzpatrick. “We have a great staff that is ready to get people back outside, active and social again. Our summer staff did great last year keeping numbers down, social distancing and offering some great programs and are confident they can do it again this summer.”
As schools resume, COVID-19 cases declining, vaccines are being administered and the county in the red tier, city staff has been making preparations to reopen some of their programs. Late last month Fitzpatrick brought the request to the City Council at a city council meeting for direction and approval to reopen the programs. Unanimously the council supported the decision made by Fitzpatrick to open up some of the programs at the final meeting in March.
Mayor Richard O’Brien stated at the meeting that Fitzpatrick knows how to do her job and does it well so it was not necessary for a vote. He said, “go for it” on starting up the programs.
“If safety protocols are anything like last summer I think you did a great job,” stated Vice Mayor Luis Uribe. “I would feel comfortable starting to open them up. I think there are ways to do these programs in a safe way and I think the difference is that we have some of our population vaccinated so in that sense I am comfortable to slowly reopen.”
Agreeing with the Mayor, Councilmember Cal Campbell added, “Sue I have nothing but faith in what you do with your programs and I back you 100 percent on this.”
Councilmember Rachel Hernandez noted that she trusts the decisions that Fitzpatrick will make and feels comfortable moving ahead.
“I agree with what everyone has said,” commented Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez during the discussion. “You have been in this for how many years now so I know you will be able to take care of our residents, our visitors and our city.”
The Teen Center will open on Monday, April 12 from 2:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Monday through Friday with some special weekend activities. The Center is open to youth and teens ages 11to 17 and masks and social distancing will be required with reduced capacity to abide by the safety precautions and public health guidelines. They will have the doors rolled up to increase air flow and some activities will be held outdoors.
The Tot Time Program will also open on April 12 for a two week session through May 28. They are currently enrolling 3- to 5-year-olds for the recreational and social programs that will be held in two four-week sessions. The program is held at the Scout Hall three days a week from 9 a.m. to noon.
They are taking registrations for the swim team, swim lessons and day camps on the website riverbank.recdesk.com. Although the parks have limited capacity for group events they are taking park reservations.
There are people already signing up for the Aquatics programs like swim lessons.
“Our swim team will be a bit different as we do not have another swim team to swim against this year,” noted Fitzpatrick. “We will get the swimmers training and they will race against each other or to better their own time. Relay races are fun and that is what we will center on this year.”
Lifeguard training should begin in May with the pool opening in June. There were discussions of possibly having movies in the park once again in June and July with people properly socially distanced.
The planning stages have also begun on the Cheese and Wine Festival that is slated for the second weekend in October.