Summer fun: Pools, outdoor movies & more

Covington Parks & Rec planning activities with safety in mind

(EDITOR’S NOTE: Covington’s pools open June 12. This release initially had the incorrect date.)

COVINGTON, Ky. – Reopened swimming pools. Movie nights in the park. Activity kits delivered to your door.

Winter still has us in its proverbial icy grip, but Covington Parks & Recreation is firming up plans for activities and programming for the coming season.
Generally speaking, Parks & Rec’s 2021 calendar is shaping up like this: A lot more active than in 2020 (when COVID-19 forced the shutdown most everything around the country that involved close interaction) but still mindful of the pandemic.
“We want to make sure we’re delivering fun in a safe way,” said Jess Link, Recreation Program Coordinator. “We want to keep it fresh, perhaps find some new approaches to some old favorites.”
Parks & Rec Manager Ben Oldiges said the division would remain nimble and flexible as it continues to monitor safety protocols, but “for now we’re planning a full calendar in two-month increments.”
After being forced to close its water facilities last summer to follow state and federal social-distancing guidelines, Parks & Rec  is planning to open them this summer.
“One year of shutdown was a tough ask, two would be impossible to bear,” Oldiges said.
Tuesday night, Oldiges presented a proposed management contract with SwimSafe Pool Management Inc. for the 2021 and 2022 swim seasons to the Board of Commissioners that would handle everything from the hiring of lifeguards to chemicals, liability insurance, and operational repairs and maintenance. After a brief discussion, the Commission put the contract on its “consent” agenda to be approved next Tuesday, signaling that there was no need for further discussion.
Covington has three water facilities: Olympic-sized pools at Goebel Park in MainStrasse Village and Randolph Park in Eastside and the zero-depth Latonia Water Park/Splash Pad at the Bill Cappel Youth Sports Complex.
They are scheduled to be open June 12 to Aug. 2 and will be using commonsense protocols related to COVID-19. “We’ll be monitoring it closely,” Oldiges said.
Information about pool passes and summer hiring will come later. Pool-related activities will likely include swim lessons, aerobics, and exercise classes.
Parks & Rec also plans to renew its Outdoor Movie Series this summer, with popular movies shown on large, outdoor screens with social-distancing protocols enforced, Link said.
Details are being worked out, but the tentative schedule is:
  • Friday, June 25th, at the Bandshell in Devou Park.
  • Friday, July 30th, at the baseball field in Randolph Park.
  • Friday, Aug. 27th, at the field in Austinburg Neighborhood Park.
Covered picnic shelters at various parks and playgrounds are available to rent online HERE. Playgrounds and restrooms will be open, unless the Governor’s office and the Health Department orders them closed again.
Activity drop-offs
Once the school year comes to a close this spring, Parks & Rec will begin its Friday afternoon free activity kit drop-offs.
Families can sign up during the week to receive themed little kits that enable fun activities. Last year those included Frisbees, jump ropes, bird-watching kits, footballs, and crafts.
“We delivered well over 1,000 kits, and we received in return a lot of photographs of kids having fun with them,” Link said.
They said Parks & Rec will publicize its summer programming in two-month increments, rather than a whole year at a time, to enable it to change plans as needed
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