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Salem Parks & Recreation asking residents for help

Schools are closed. Churches are closed. Banks are closed. Most businesses are closed. The Salem Community Center is closed. Restaurants are closed. Local clubs and organizations are closed. The Salem City Parks are open! Well, sort of.

The coronavirus, COVID-19 is real, and it’s here in Salem. How long it will stay with us and how dangerous and deadly it becomes depends largely on how we — as a responsible community — react and respond. Social distancing is hard but very, very important if we hope to get our lives back to normal. Sooner rather than later. Sooner could be as soon as a few weeks. Later could be months. We, as a responsible community, can have a large effect on which one it will be. Sooner or later?

As I’ve stated many times before, the Salem community is blessed to have such a wonderful parks system, due in great part to the amazing support we receive from the local citizens. I am asking for your support, your cooperation and your understanding again as we deal with this pandemic.

As I stated earlier, the parks are open. We all need to get out and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine as much as possible during this time and we hope the parks can help provide a space for you to do that. Walk your dog (with dog bags please), go for a bike ride, enjoy a picnic lunch at a pavilion or picnic table, kick a soccer ball, play tennis, go for a jog, check out the Nature Trail, play catch or hit some ground balls to your kids (if the fields ever dry out!), feed the squirrels (not the ducks and geese) and hopefully return home feeling refreshed.

However, as I also stated earlier, the parks are “sort of” open because not every activity or facility is going to be available due to the social distancing orders (not requests!) that are in place. The Swings & Things playground in Centennial Park, the large playground by the duck pond at Waterworth Memorial Park and the playground at Mullins park are closed and off limits until further notice.

The Dog Park will remain open if social distancing rules are followed. I am asking you to please stay out of these locations, keeping in mind that these areas are all under surveillance and activities at these locations can be seen live on screens at the Salem Police Department and the Salem Parks Department. I’m sure we all realize that Salem is also blessed with an outstanding police department. Let’s not make their jobs any more difficult during these difficult times. We are all just trying to keep this community healthy and probably even saves some lives. We’re asking for your help.

I’m hoping and praying for sooner rather than later. As I’m sure you are too. Salem citizens, please, get out and enjoy your parks but follow the orders from Governor DeWine and our local health officials about social distancing. Sooner will take some effort and sacrifice, but I believe Salem has the type of citizens that is willing to make that effort and make that sacrifice.

At this time, the restrooms will not be opened. The lights at Centennial tennis and basketball courts will be coming on soon. The parks close at 10 p.m. As of today, the Salem City Lake is scheduled to open on Tuesday, April 14. But that is subject to change. We will revisit that decision in early April. The Easter Egg Hunt scheduled for Saturday, April 11 has been postponed and not cancelled. We will be hosting this event at a later date.

Park rules are posted in all parks and I am expecting them to be followed. Don’t be afraid to report those unwilling to follow these simple rules.

Park rules

Park hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m..

The following is prohibited within the parks:

— Disorderly conduct including loud and/or indecent language and music.

— Loitering, alcohol, drugs, dangerous ordinances or weapons.

— Littering or dumping of refuse except in a park container.

— Dogs running at large. All pets must be on a leash (except at dog park).

— Property damage including trees, plants, structures or any park property.

— Disrupting by words or actions, legal and peaceful park activities

Violators may be charged with a criminal offense and/or banned from park property for up to one years. Chapter 155, Section 155.02, Ordinance # 180501-35.

Thank you.

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