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Freenock issues an apology to panel

“We’re moving forward with these programs.”

That’s the word City Manager Nancy Freenock brought to the Parks & Recreation Commission on Tuesday regarding the city’s Summer Playground Program and the operation of the C.A.R. Pool.

Staff had made the decision to keep both of those offerings shuttered in 2021 but Warren City Council on Monday reversed those decisions in a special meeting.

Freenock said the commission was not consulted in those initial decisions.

“I apologize for that,” she said. “Normally, we would have discussed that.”

She said the initial decision was made for a “number of reasons,” including the inability to know whether participants have been vaccinated and no ability to contact trace.

In 2019, a total of 93 children were registered for the park program and just 66 percent of visits to the pool were from city residents.

Freenock said she was concerned about asking high school and college students hired to operate these services to enforce adult rules.

“We’re hoping to do things a little differently,” she said.

One aspect of that is pre-registration for the park program is to determine “whether we have enough students” to open the program at three parks — Lacy, Beaty and DeFrees. “Then we’ll move from there.”

She said the city solicitor is also looking into a COVID-19-specific waiver but noted that these items are “all under discussion right now.”

The city is looking at what other municipalities are doing and is “hoping for a meeting on Monday” with the YMCA, which manages the day-to-day operation of the pool.

“We’re moving toward having these programs,” she said, but said the commission should have been notified of the closure or a special meeting held.

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