DOWNERS GROVE – Amid the new normal prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Downers Grove Park District has reopened its doors to members for in-person programming.
The indoor track at the recreation center reopened Oct. 19 to members who reserve workout times.
Dawn Hartman, the district’s director of marketing and community engagement, said each 1½-hour session is limited to 10 visitors at a time and the facilities will be cleaned between each workout time.
The new reservation system allows officials to monitor and limit the number of people who use the indoor track at a time, officials said.
The indoor track will be available to the rest of the community beginning Nov. 2. Hartman said nonmembers are required to purchase a one-time $5 membership card.
The same procedures have been adopted at the park district’s fitness facility, which Hartman said is open to the public.
“We’re following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical guidelines to ensure that everyone is staying safe while they visit,” Hartman said.
She said the park district is requiring masks and performing temperature checks for all participants.
Hartman added the park district would respond appropriately if restrictions resume because of the recent increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
“As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, the Downers Grove Park District will continue to follow the guidelines and requirements outlined in the Restore Illinois plan,” she said. “If the state recommends mitigation measures, we will respond quickly to modify programs and operations as required. The health and safety of our participants and staff is our top priority, and we will continue to put procedures in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Knowing that an uptick in COVID-19 cases was possible this fall and winter, the park district has worked hard over the last several months to plan programs and events in a way that can be modified if needed. This includes shifting to a virtual format or altering programs to meet the guidelines while providing a fun and safe experience.”
Winter youth basketball and gymnastics programs also are underway at the park district.
Among the parks and facilities that remain closed to the public are outdoor restrooms at Hummer Park, Fishel Park and Lyman Woods, drinking fountains and the administration office.
Hartman said park district officials have evaluated what facilities and programs can be run safely under the state’s plan.
“I think our team has done a great job of figuring out what can we offer and what expenses can we cut,” Hartman said. “We’ve done the best that we can under the circumstances, and we’re still able to offer programs for residents to enjoy, whether it’s safely in person or virtual. Also, we’re offering a lot of virtual events.”
The park district generates some of its revenue by offering programs for members and the community, officials said. Hartman said officials are excited to know the district will end the fiscal year with a balanced budget.
“We have put a lot of our capital improvement projects on hold temporarily,” she said. “We kept evaluating what services we can offer and stay within our budget. Obviously, if we’re not offering certain programs, we don’t have those program expenses.”
Hartman said she believes park district programming has been missed by many in the community.
“People are figuring out what they’re comfortable with, and it seems the outdoor programs are doing great,” she said.