Beginning Sunday, March 15, until Wednesday, April 1
by Targett Johnson, Executive Director, Calumet Memorial Park District
CALUMET CITY, Ill. (March 15, 2020) – We find ourselves in a challenging time, both globally and locally. The COVID-19 outbreak has necessitated many difficult decisions, including the temporary closure of museums, zoos, theaters, and schools here in Illinois.
In most instances, these decisions to close were made not because of any actual incident of coronavirus infection, but rather to try and prevent any such incident, and to halt the spread of the virus.
We’ve seen in recent days the shutdown of the NBA, NCAA, NHL, and other sports organizations, because of the potential threat of the virus being transmitted among large gatherings of people. As disappointing as these decisions may be, they were made for the soundest of reasons—to put the safety and welfare of the people first, ahead of any other considerations.
Although on a much smaller scale than a professional sports team, a park district nevertheless provides a gathering point for large groups of people. On any given day, hundreds of people of all ages may pass through our doors. If one of them carries the COVID-19 virus, that could potentially result in other infected victims.
Therefore, as Executive Director of the Calumet Memorial Park District (which serves Calumet City, Burnham, and the Eastern portions of Dolton and South Holland), acting on the advice and example of numerous other public entities and health organizations, and after consultation with our Board of Commissioners, I am declaring that the programs and facilities of the Calumet Memorial Park District shall be suspended for the remainder of the month of March, beginning Sunday, March 15.
This will be a phased suspension, beginning with the Sandridge Fitness Center and gymnasium on Sunday, and the Memorial Park Fieldhouse, Wilhelm Business Office and Downey Park as of Monday.
This suspension extends to all of our youth and adult programs, our senior citizen programs, hall rentals, all special events, and all of our indoor facilities. Our outdoor public parks shall remain open and available for use. Recreation offices shall be closed to the public, and no in-person registration shall be taken.
(Note: our facilities may be employed for emergency purposes during this time. Watch for any announcements in that eventuality.)
Regarding Election Day—as of this writing, the Illinois primary election on Tuesday, March 17, is still scheduled to proceed as planned. We will inform residents immediately via social media if this should change.
We are tentatively scheduled to resume full activities and facility accessibility on Wednesday, April 1, pending no unforeseen developments.
Adequate compensation shall be made to Fitness Center Members for this disruption of their membership, as well as to registered program participants. Cancelled hall rentals shall be reimbursed their full rental fee.
I cannot stress strongly enough the fact that this closure is only an act on the side of abundant caution; there has been NO reported case of the coronavirus within the boundaries of the Calumet Memorial Park District, and we would like to keep it that way.
We thank our residents for their support during this vexing time. In the meantime, we urge one and all to exercise common sense, follow CDC health recommendations, and avoid public places if they are sick with any illness.
For any special concerns about the park district’s temporary closure, you may contact me at 708-868-2530 x131, or by email at [email protected].