As Colorado and Elbert County begin loosening restrictions on gathering sizes, opening of businesses and summer programs, officials from the Elizabeth Parks and Recreation District want residents to …
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As Colorado and Elbert County begin loosening restrictions on gathering sizes, opening of businesses and summer programs, officials from the Elizabeth Parks and Recreation District want residents to take advantage of the many activities and resources the district has to offer.
“Our job is to bring fun to the community,” said JC Cook, president of the district. “We have worked closely with the county health department, and are following Colorado guidelines for safely reopening our playgrounds, splash pad and some of our youth sports programs.”
Playgrounds open for kids
Cook said that while playgrounds are now open, using them is not risk-free, and he encourages parents to watch their younger children who may put their hands in their mouths. He also urges residents to maintain safe social distancing procedures with others while recreating at the parks or hiking on the trails.
The district has been working hard throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, while many residents were staying at home whenever possible. The district has added some new amenities during the “stay-at-home” phase of the pandemic, and Cook said they are excited for residents to come out and see what’s new in their parks.
New half-pipe at skate park
The skate park at Evans Park has a new addition, in the form of a half-pipe for skateboarders. The ramp is open for use, although a few finishing touches such as caulking and paint need to be applied. The half-pipe offers a 5-foot drop-in, as well as an elevated 7-foot drop-in. It measure 30 feet long by 16 feet wide to offer skaters of all skill levels an exciting experience.
Splash pad is open — reservations required
The splash pad at Evans park just opened last year, but quickly became a favorite hangout for parents and kids as a free source of entertainment. Due to the pandemic, the splash pad is currently available by reservation only. Families can reserve the pad for one hour for $15, and families who cannot afford the fee can apply for a fee waiver. Reservations are required until June 15 for now, but Mike Barney, director of operations for the district, hopes it will be open to the public again soon.
“We’ve worked with the health department, and right now we are only allowing reserved groups in to the splash pad,” said Barney. “Things change so quickly, so we’re hoping after the 15th we’ll know more about opening it up completely.”
For splash pad reservations, go online to www.elizabethpr.com.
91 acres offer new trail at Casey Jones Park
The district recently acquired 91 acres surrounding the arena at Casey Jones Park. The trail is available for hikers, dog-walking, cyclists and horseback riding. It is accessed from the parking lot of the arena, and the 30-minute hike is relatively easy and winds through acres of trees, with plenty of shade and a bench for relaxing and taking in the scenery. Hikers are encouraged to respect social distancing, pick up after their dogs and keep dogs on a leash. No motorized vehicles are permitted.
Dragonfly Pond at Evans Park
Anglers can spend the day fishing at Dragonfly Pond, which is stocked with trout annually, including 200 added this month. Those lucky enough to catch a “big one” are allowed to keep it, as long as it meets state guidelines in size. Anglers must also have a valid fishing license, and are asked to respect social distancing with other anglers.
Programs and special events
The Elizabeth Stampede and the annual Celtic Festival have both been canceled for 2020, as well as youth baseball and softball leagues for the summer. The district will be offering small group baseball clinics for rookies and T-ball players. Clinics are limited to six participants and will focus on individual skill development. They are also assessing similar program opportunities for older youths, but don’t have anything planned yet. It is unlikely that the district will be able to offer adult softball this summer, and fall sports programs may also be canceled. For updates to summer programs visit www.elizabethpr.com.
“Our employees have done a phenomenal job taking care of the trails and facilities, so residents can take advantage of them during the summer months,” said Cook. “We are looking forward to a great summer, and getting people outside and active again.”
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