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‘You have to maintain ‘em’: Parks and Recreation Department still hard at work

Freckleton Park
A slide closed at Freckleton Park in Pocatello.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - On a beautiful spring day, under normal circumstances, parks around the City of Pocatello would be buzzing. Even though they aren't, the parks and recreation department has been hard at work.

Operating under instruction from the governor and health officials, Pocatello's parks and recreation department has been maintaining its essential services. As a result, some fields and parks look a little different right now. 

"We just felt that it was the safest thing to do to remove any possibility of transmission from touching," Parks and Recreation Director John Banks said. "So we’ve closed most of our playgrounds and removed some of our equipment that’s easy to remove, like the swing sets."

A swing set a Freckleton Park has had its swings removed.

While some parks may look empty, Banks says there’s still a decent crowd most days.

"We do have quite a few people utilizing the park, kind of in groups and properly social distance. ... they are being used, it’s just a little more hit and miss than usual."

The lighter foot traffic has made it easier for the department to maintain the essential green spaces and, recently, the ball fields.

"You have to maintain ‘em. If you don’t maintain it, something in the growing season for 6-8 weeks, you can really lose it for the whole season," he explained.  

"So they are working on the ball fields right now to try and get them in some kind of semblance of ready for play, in anticipation of resuming services, when that time comes." 

In the meantime, Banks encourages people to come out and enjoy the parks.

"We feel it’s therapeutic to get out of the house and maybe get a little exercise walking," he said. "Just maintaining good social distancing between non-family members is what we ask."

Banks says the department is currently operating with about half its staff. They plan to bring their part-time workers back at the end of the month. 

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