By Liz Beavers
Tribune Managing Editor
KEYSER - The City of Keyser’s parks and playgrounds will reopen to the public as of 8 a.m. Thursday, but the John R. Shelton Swimming Pool will remain closed for the summer.
In view of Gov. Jim Justice’s order to phase in the resumption of sports such as Little League, the Keyser City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to reopen the city parks, which include the ballfields, picnic areas, and play areas.
The parks have been closed since March due to the COVID-10 pandemic.
Council member and parks and recreation commissioner William Zacot noted that not only did the Governor issue recommendations for the phased-in resumption of sports, but he also raised the threshold for gatherings from 10 to 25.
Zacot said the Little League coaches who will be using the fields will be enforcing social distancing among the players and keeping hand sanitizer available to the players, as well as changing balls every inning.
Those who come to watch the games will also be encouraged to remain socially distant from anyone who does not live in their household.
Zacot therefore made a motion to reopen the parks, and Mike Ryan seconded it.
The pool, however, will remain closed for the summer.
Save the Pool Committee member Lynn Robinson asked if keeping the pool closed for a year would affect the city’s ability to open it next summer, and mayor Damon Tillman replied that it would not.
And since the pool and building will remain in a winterized state, the council also voted to not make the facility available to youth football for their practices this year.
“Since we’re not opening the pool, they need to find another facility to use,” Zacot said, making the motion to deny their request. Jennifer Junkins seconded the motion, which also passed unanimously.