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Riverbank Staff Directed To Reopen Park Amenities
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There were limitations but Jacob Myers Park in Riverbank was open over the weekend; residents were able to enjoy the water and a picnic, but with social distancing protocols also in place. Marg Jackson/The News

Members of the Riverbank City Council have directed City Staff to open the parks, tennis courts, basketball courts, park restrooms and skate park with a few restrictions. Jacob Myers Park was also reopened but had limited entry with social distancing required in the open spaces. Finally, staff was directed to cancel the annual Cheese and Wine Festival this year.

Riverbank City Manager Sean Scully recently provided the council with an update on the COVID-19 effects locally. He reported at the time of the meeting that there were 12 confirmed cases in Riverbank. That number was received from the Stanislaus County Health Agency website City offices, meanwhile, will remain closed possibly until the end of May.

City Hall South and Public Works is looking to reopen the beginning of June with limited access and all safety precautions in place.

After a lengthy discussion by the city council on the COVID update as well as the discussion on reopening the parks and continuing events that was presented by Director of Parks and Recreation Sue Fitzpatrick, the direction was given at the meeting last week.

Since March all recreation programs were canceled and parks have been closed including all the amenities.

There will be signs posted at the parks and virus precautions are still required like 6 feet social distancing, washing hands, masks are recommended, no large gatherings are allowed and the use of public facilities is at one’s own risk.

The council did direct Fitzpatrick to open the tennis courts, basketball courts, Pickleball courts, and the skate park. All the parks’ play structures are not open and the aquatics are on hold as well. They will continue with the day camps with all precautions being made. The trails are open at Jacob Myers Park as well but only about half capacity will be allowed into the park. They limited entry to about 60 vehicles for the past weekend to be able to monitor the crowds. There will be no reservations considered until July.

“In general we were pleased to get authorization to reopen many recreation programs and facilities,” said Scully. “We believe we have one of the best parks and recreation programs in the area and we hope to move forward and provide those services and facilities to the community in amended ways that take virus safety into account.”

Although the council didn’t want to see the Cheese and Wine event impacted, they all agreed that it would be best to cancel it this year. They do plan to continue the event next year.