Summer recreation taking a hit

What Shawnee county plans to do with summer activities after coronavirus hopefully settles down. How are employees handling the stay at home order, what events have been postponed or cancelled completely, and what the recreation will look like this summer.


Laurel Padilla and Mia Osier

Summer activities may still be on in Shawnee County. Manhattan recently has announced that they will not open pools or host summer programs. As long as there aren’t restrictions in place, Shawnee County plans to open pools and recreation parks. 

“This whole thing has thrown the whole world on its side, it seems. In our business specifically, it’s just bizarre to have complexes sitting empty on sunny days,” Derrick Mead, Youth Sports Manager for Shawnee County Parks + Recreation said. “People want to be back out there playing and watching their kids play, but it’s unfortunately not that simple just yet.” 

With the mandated stay at home order being extended until May 3rd, all leagues, tournaments, and practices are still out of the picture until new reopen dates are set.  Covid-19 has impacted summer recreation in every way imaginable. 

“Our jobs involve a lot of planning and scheduling, so we’re in the process of formulating Plans A, B, C and D,” Mead said. “This is a new situation for us all. It kind of depends on what we’re allowed to do and what people are willing to do once that time comes.” 

The county is still hopeful for contracting the installation of a new soccer field at Bettis sports complex and new additions to the girls softball diamonds this year.

“There are new updates every day, and they have yet to be positive ones,” Mead said. 

As this affects many athletes and sports teams, this has also affected the Parks and Rec staff. “It has affected me by not having a job so I went out and found another.” said Senior Tyler Loy. He has worked for Parks and Rec since March of 2018. While working in Maintenance, Loy makes sure the fields are ready for the next games or practices.Seeing people he knows and watching them play sports like baseball,softball, and soccer is Loys favorite part of working there.

As the stay at home policy is still in place, the fields and pools are said to not be opened.But as the new date May 3rd comes, more updates on reopening will be given out so we can get back to doing what we love.