By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – As communities roll out belated summer plans and hold on to the few remaining major events – even as coronavirus cases continue to climb in Kosciusko County – the main word continues to be “fluid.”
As in things could still change, morph or be cancelled.
One week after Kosciusko County fair leaders cancelled the community fair in Warsaw, the town of Syracuse announced on Monday its parks would not be open for the July 4th weekend despite ongoing plans for a major fireworks display.
Meanwhile, Warsaw Parks & Recreation Department is reopening some of its programs, including the summer concert series, which returns July 10 and the skate park’s opening on July 6, but Parks Superintendent Larry Plummer noted – like many others talking about future plans – that things are tentative.
“If things get worse, this is all tentative,” Plummer said during a weekly coronavirus news conference where he was joined by Kosciusko County Health Officer Dr. William Remington and County Commissioner Cary Groninger.
“It’s all subject to change, but you’ve got to have a plan to get things in order and make things happen,” Plummer said.
(See an updated list of Warsaw park developments at the end of this story.)
After an initial rise of COVID-19 cases in March and April, officials seemed to think the worst was over, but have since seen those numbers rise again at an even faster pace in recent weeks as efforts to reopen businesses and activities continue in a phased-in approach.
“Our surge now is a bit heavier than what was seen two months ago,” Remington said.
Syracuse town officials chose to close the beaches for the July 4th weekend in part because of the traditional density of people attracted for the fireworks display.
Remington was asked if he could envision a situation in which he recommends against people gathering for the Winona Lake fireworks.
He said he doesn’t expect that to happen under current circumstances, adding at one point, “Everything is fluid.”
“A hundred new cases a week is substantial,” Remington said, adding “but we’ve not seen a doubling effect week-by-week since Memorial Day.”
While he hasn’t offered a “forceful directive” about plans for a large scale gathering, Remington added, “We really just need to keep watching these numbers, though.”
He said he thinks Winona Lake officials are being careful in their approach and will promote calls for social distancing on July 4.
At the same time, he continues to urge people who are at-risk to not attend.
In other matters:
- Remington said they are shifting more resources to help with school districts in the county as the reopening of fall classes approaches.
- Groninger reported 123 tests have been done at the three MedStat locations in Kosciusko County.
Here is a rundown of developments in the Warsaw parks system:
- Six performances will be part ofan abbreviated Summer ConcertSeries beginning July 10.
- Mantis Skate Park will open beginning July 6, but with restrictions.
- Park space rentals will be available after July 4. Those include Nye Youth Cabin, the Firemen’s Building, Center Lake Pavilion, Lucerne Amphitheater, and the Central Park Plaza. Some restrictions will be in place.
- Hire Park BMX track is open with restrictions.
- Young Tiger Football will start practice in August but will limit games to an in-house league instead of travel games. Various restrictions are planned.