Skye Coney, of Southfield, hula hoops at Inglenook Park last year during the Recreation on the Move program. Both Southfield and Lathrup Village recently announced the cancelation of their summer programs.
SOUTHFIELD/LATHRUP VILLAGE — It was not an easy decision, according to local officials, but summer programming in both Southfield and Lathrup Village has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For Southfield, the announcement came in a May 21 press release. Officials said in the release that all summer programming — including all classes, programs, camps, special events, athletic leagues and senior programs and trips — are canceled through at least Aug. 31.
At press time, the Southfield Sports Arena pool was to remain closed for the season. Evergreen Hills Golf Course and all Southfield parks and nature preserves will remain open, however, officials said.
“Parks and Recreation staff will continue to monitor the governor’s executive orders, CDC and county guidelines, along with our city officials’ guidance regarding future programming and the appropriate time for the safe reopening of our facilities,” Southfield Parks and Recreation Director Terry Fields said in a prepared statement.
In the absence of in-person programming, Fields said in the release that staff have developed a virtual recreation program called Stay INteractive. The program features daily activities, arts and crafts, games, links, video tips and more.
More information about the program can be found on the Southfield Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
All Southfield parks remain open daily from dawn to dusk, officials said, for individual fitness activities such as walking and jogging. Park visitors are reminded to continue to observe the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention minimum recommended social distancing of at least 6 feet from other individuals.
In Lathrup Village, the announcement also came in a May 21 press release. Similar to Southfield, officials said in the release that all in-person parks and recreation programming, events and activities have been canceled through Aug. 31.
Chris Clough, Lathrup Village Parks and Recreation coordinator, said many factors went into the city’s decision.
For example, the city looked at current executive orders, guidelines from the CDC and safety recommendations from the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Department, along with recommendations with the National Recreation and Park Association.
“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make in my career. You know people are going to be disappointed and some will disagree, but you have to do what you believe is right,” Clough said in an email. “It’s putting the well-being of many above the desires of a few.”
While it was a tough decision to make, Clough said villagers have responded well to the news.
“So far, thankfully, the response has been positive and appreciative. Residents have sent their thanks for keeping them safe. That touched my heart. I am extremely grateful for the support of the villagers I serve,” Clough said in an email.
Clough said he is working with the recreation advisory board and other city officials to see if some summer programs may still be possible, such as the outdoor Summer Concert Series, which is slated to start June 23, and a June 27 art fair.
While programming may be canceled, Clough said the city parks remain open, and are seeing a lot of visitors. He encouraged residents to practice social distancing.
The city is also offering virtual programs, which take place through the Lathrup Village Parks and Recreation Facebook page.
“Our recent ‘pet dating profile’ photo contest on Facebook was hilarious,” Clough said in an email. “Our online contests offer gift cards to Lathrup Village businesses as prizes.”
Every Thursday morning, Clough said, he hosts Coffee with Chris and Friends on Zoom.
“It’s a fun opportunity for neighbors to catch up with each other while getting updates on the Parks and Rec Department,” Clough said in an email. “Sometimes I have special guests, too.”
The city is also seeking members to join the Lathrup Village Community Vegetable Garden group, funding for which was approved for the upcoming budget year, Clough said.
Clough said anyone interested in learning about community organizations in Lathrup Village is welcome to contact him through email at email@example.com.
Fields did not return a request for further comment by press time.