With many traditional entertainment options closed due to stay-at-home orders related to COVID-19, families have taken advantage of the limited outdoor recreation spaces open during this time. Their options will expand in the coming weeks as Grain Valley Parks and Recreation pushes forward with plans for the summer, including the opening of the Grain Valley Aquatic Center in late May.
The Grain Valley Aquatic Center will open for the season on Saturday, May 23rd. Pool season passes can be purchased once the Grain Valley Community Center resumes normal operational hours. Registration for group and private swimming lessons as well as water aerobics is now open on the City’s website. Residents may also register for Parks and Recreation programming by calling the Community Center, 816-847-6230 ext. 9 from 8:00am – 5:00pm Monday – Friday.
Shannon Davies, Parks and Recreation Director, is not yet certain what changes in terms of capacity will need to be implemented at the pool. “We will know more once Jackson County provides their recovery plan,” Davies said.
Residents should expect some changes when utilizing parks facilities and participating in programming.
“As our parks and recreation facilities start to open back up to the public, initially there will be changes with regard to limiting the number of registrants, maintaining social distancing, and the PPE’s utilized by staff. We should be getting guidance from Jackson County this week on what this will look like. Some facilities will open sooner than others but the ‘gathering’ restrictions the County provides will dictate what programs we can still offer and what programs we will have to cancel or postpone. Of those programs that we can still provide, we will have to limit the registration count to maximize social distancing,” Davies said.
The Parks and Recreation Department will offer a Youth Tennis program and Pre-K Instructional T-Ball program this summer, as well as popular programs such as Popsicles in the Park and Movies in the Park.
The first Movie in the Park program will be held Friday, June 5th at the Armstrong Park Pavilion. The June 5th event will feature the movie Abominable and will begin at dusk (approximately 8:30pm).
The past few weeks have proved to be an interesting challenge for Parks and Recreation staff, and helping families stay active while most parks facilities are closed has required creativity.
“We have tried to do more things through social media. For example, our “Boredom Busters” activity through Twitter. Each day, we post an activity that kids can do at home inside or out in their yards and ask that they post pictures of them in action or of their completed activity. With playgrounds, park shelters, and other park amenities being closed to the public, we have seen a huge increase in trail usage,” Davies said.
“With the warmer weather and people tired of being cooped-up at home, our trails have been a true asset for people to spend time outdoors and exercise. We have seen a marked increase in trail use at Armstrong Park and Butterfly Trail Park. Our new Blue Branch Creek Trail has been very popular over the past several months. We are also seeing people use our open greenspace areas to play on and picnic, which is really great to see.”