Cities issue plan to reopen parks

Rome, Utica mayors coordinating to determine when senior centers can safely reopen

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Mayor Jaqueline M. Izzo, along with Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri, announced Thursday that city parks in both municipalities would now be open for certain sports and recreational activities — with plans to phase in additional activities in the coming weeks.

In a joint statement, both mayors said they can move forward to allow recreational activities to begin this month because of declining COVID infection rates and rising vaccination rates.

Basketball and tennis courts will be open in both Rome and Utica beginning today, and playgrounds and walking trails already open to residents.

Both municipalities are targeting Monday, April 19, to open city parks for all other sports, including soccer, football, baseball and softball. This date is subject to the weather and the impact it has to the field conditions within city parks.

In the City of Rome, permits are not required to reserve fields, but it’s recommended that residents contact the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Activities for availability by calling 315-339-7656.

In coordination with Oneida County Department of Health, organizers of sports teams are required to submit health and safety plans for their respective teams in order to utilize a city park/facility. Organizers of sports teams, including but not limited to, adult softball, youth baseball, youth soccer, and the like, must contact the city before announcing any league activities.

All organizers of local sports must also affirm they have read and will abide by state Department of Health guidelines. While sports will be permitted, a respective city park/facility cannot exceed a maximum occupancy of 100 people.

“Mayor Palmieri and I have been in close communication throughout the pandemic to promote continuity and availability of constituent services in our respective cities,” said Izzo. “With our infection rates coming down and vaccination rates trending upwards, we are excited to begin reopening our facilities so that the public may enjoy our great parks systems and outdoor recreation activities.”

Izzo and Palmieri are also coordinating with state and local health officials to determine when senior centers can safely reopen. In addition, to promote the health and safety of their workforces, Izzo and Palmieri said they plan to reopen Rome and Utica City Halls once every city employee who wishes to receive a vaccine has the opportunity to do so.

All plans are subject to change depending on the fluctuation of the local infection rate.

“As we reopen facilities, we implore our citizens to continue virus mitigation measures of masking when appropriate, social distancing and hand washing,” Izzo said. “Mayor Palmieri and I appreciate the quick responses we receive from our partners at Oneida County and New York State as announcements are made that allow local municipalities to loosen virus restrictions currently in place, and we will continue to collaborate in the next several months.”

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