Members of Acworth’s Downtown Development Authority discussed reopening the city’s parks and community centers this Friday at a virtual meeting Tuesday evening. City events that were canceled because of COVID-19 were discussed as well.
Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources James Albright said at the meeting that this week decisions are being made to reopen city parks. Albright said the intention is to open the parks gradually and that is the first focus in reopening Acworth.
Large events like the Acworth Art Fest and city-sponsored events, classes, programs and activities are postponed through Sunday, May 10.
At Tuesday’s meeting, Albright said that the city is looking to reschedule the Acworth Art Fest until sometime in June but that is not final, as they are analyzing guidelines related to COVID-19. Once these guidelines are finalized, dates for rescheduled large events will be planned.
“There’s a lot of details that are still coming out, the governor’s announcement about group sizes and things like that so right now that’s what we’re looking at,” Albright said to DDA colleagues. “So again, everything through May 10th right now — if it’s a large event, our intention is to reschedule it right now because we know that has a positive impact on our businesses and we need that. If we have to delay it further then we’re going to start [getting] some congestion in the fall.”
A day after the meeting, the City of Acworth’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Resources announced that on Friday, April 24, at 5 p.m., trails, sidewalks and open greenspace at certain city parks will reopen and stay open through normal business hours from 6 a.m. through 11 p.m.
Parks opening Friday are Logan Farm Park, Acworth Sports Complex, Frana Brown Park, Baker Plantation Park, Newberry Park, East Lakeshore Park and Cauble Park.
Cauble Park’s boat ramp and parking lot will stay closed, according to the city’s release.
South Shore Park will open Monday, April 27, at 7 a.m. to be able to access Lake Acworth for kayaking, canoeing, paddleboarding and those with small boats. The park will be open every day from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m.
If the parking lot of South Shore Park becomes full, though, the park will temporarily close.
Despite the parks reopening, all amenities like bathrooms, playgrounds, pavilions, swimming spots, sports fields and batting cages will stay closed. Dallas Landing Park, Proctor Landing Park, Overlook Park and the Depot History Center will also stay closed.
In an interview with Albright after the meeting, he said that Acworth’s decision to open city parks and centers was made independently of Kemp’s decision to reopen certain businesses Friday. Opening the parks is the city’s first step in gradually reopening city facilities. Precautions are being taken by the city to ensure residents are safe from COVID-19.
“The Mayor, Board of Aldermen and City staff will continue to make decisions that are in the best interest of our visitors, participants and our staff,” Albright said. “We are putting a lot of careful thought into the decisions we are making to gradually reopen city facilities. We are taking it one step at a time.”
Arielle Robinson is an undergrad at Kennesaw State University. She is the president of the university’s Society of Professional Journalists and an editor at the KSU Sentinel. She enjoys music, reading poetry and non-fiction books and collecting books and records.