Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society submits reopening plan


GEORGETOWN, Ky. (WEHT)- The Kentucky Recreation and Parks Society (KRPS) announced Thursday that it submitted a plan to Gov. Andy Beshear that provides a timeline to restart parks and recreation activities later this year.

KRPS Executive Director Terri Wilkerson says the organization’s task force has spent weeks developing the plan based on science-based recommendations, adding that they are applying the Healthy at Home approach to fields, pools, gyms, and playgrounds across Kentucky.

Wilkerson says the KRPS has also received input from more than 80 parks and recreation departments in the state, as well as the National Recreation and Parks Association, the CDC, the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, the United States Tennis Association, and governing bodies from other sports.

The KRPS set a target date for July 1 when baseball and softball can resume once teams have two weeks to organize and prepare. Games would start locally before evolving into more regional play. Crowd sizes would also be limited to maintain social distancing.

Wilkerson added that soccer and other youth sport activities would follow a similar timeline but competitive swimming and outdoor basketball would be the last to resume, saying those two activities carry the highest risk of spreading COVID-19.

The KRPS also recommended delaying opening playgrounds until the fall, saying that high touch surfaces would be hard to disinfect and it would be difficult for children to maintain social distancing.

Wilkerson says the reopening plans can be scaled back if there is a rise in COVID-19 cases and adds that the public should remain patient as parks reopen with limited or slashed budgets. However, Wilkerson says parks and recreation departments contribute nearly $1 billion to the economy each year.

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(This story was originally published on May 28, 2020)


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