Superior park programs change because of pandemic

The playground program and Bayside Sounds are still planned but will get a later start in 2020.

Playground Program Supervisor Sam Gidley, left, helps August Johson, center, and Grady Marynik create a pizza with chalk at Webster Dream Park in South Superior on Tuesday, July 16, 2019. The coronavirus pandemic forced city officials to push the start of the Playground Program to July 6. Staff will also wear masks and gloves. (File / Superior Telegram)

Two popular summer programs offered by the city’s Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department will be back this year, just a little later in the season than usual.

The Playground Program, originally scheduled to get underway June 10, will start July 6 and see some changes as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve cut down to six weeks of programming,” said Caitlin Knoll, program coordinator for the Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

The department also eliminated field trips to avoid transporting children. Instead, Knoll is working with organizations to bring the field trips to the parks.

“The YMCA has indicated they might be interested in planning something. Club Superior Volleyball reached out with an interest as well. We’re trying to beef up what we normally do," she said.


The way that programming will be delivered is changing as well, with a focus on preventing the spread of coronavirus. Staff will be wearing masks and gloves, and there will plenty of hand sanitizer on-site.

Plans had included adding hand-washing stations at each of the parks, but those have proven difficult to secure, said Linda Cadotte, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry.

Other housekeeping matters include servicing portable toilets three times a week rather than once a week, Knoll said. And the city is working on a plan to ensure park equipment is sanitized.

The School District of Superior will provide lunch and a snack for participants, as well. Children are being asked to bring a water bottle from home. The department will have single-use cups available, as well, Knoll said.

Bayside Sounds will also be back, but the concert series won’t start until Aug. 5 and will run through the end of September. Normally, it would get underway in mid-June.

“We are still planning to hold eight concerts, which is what we traditionally hold,” Knoll said.

She said she is currently in the process of re-booking the bands for those concerts but has four ready to go for the new dates.

Knoll and Cadotte provided an update on the programs to the city's Parks and Recreation Commission recently. Councilor Keith Kern, chairman of the commission, said he liked the plans.


“Great job sticking on point and at least offering some normalcy for our kids,” he said.

While it has been more work for the department to make adjustments in light of the pandemic, Cadotte said she thinks it's the right call.

“It would be very easy to just cancel everything,” Cadotte said. “But easy isn’t always the best or right thing, especially when you see how busy our parks are right now with kids out there.”

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