Johnson City Re-opening: All three community centers, rec. athletics return

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) Monday the city of Johnson City took another step to getting back to normal, resuming public use of nearly all of its facilities.

This week, popular community centers like Memorial Park, Carver Recreation and Langston Centre are back open in the next step of Johnson City’s re-opening plan.

All of this comes with some important changes like limited programming, reduced capacity, and mandatory pre-registration for activities.

It’s a welcomed change as community center doors that have been shuttered due to the pandemic can finally reopen.

“Lot’s of smiles! And thank you’s,” said Deb Fogle, Senior Services Manager for Memorial Park Community Center.

For Memorial Park, this day has been a long time coming.

“We have been waiting for a year and one month to open back up. So we are really excited, our folks are really excited,” said Fogle.

Entrance to Johnson City’s three community centers will be limited. Registration for all activities is required, as is a COVID screening, temperature check, a mask, and hand sanitizer upon entry.

“We have time in between to clean, so we are doing a lot of sanitizing in between folks but we want to accommodate as many as we can,” said Fogle.

Social distancing is also stressed at Memorial Park Community Center, which is limiting its workout rooms, gym areas, fitness classes and pools to no more than 10 people at a time, at a max of 90 minutes. Programs for all centers are also still limited at this time.

“They are just happy coming through the doors and being able to be active again,” said Fogle.

It’s a similar setup at Carver Park Recreational Center, its biggest outreach to start back up Monday is the after school program.

Plus, this week marks the return of rec sports in Johnson City Parks.

“Obviously with COVID it’s a whole new world. We are asking for social distancing and wearing your mask inside facilities,” said Joe Ebarb, parks and rec athletic manager.

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, all kids and adult sports programs are up and running, and they are already seeing a large number sign up.

“We can make this work. They have lost a year of being able to do things that we have always taken for granted whether it is softball, soccer, whatever, We really want to get all the children involved that want to participate this year,” said Ebarb.

Other sports changes include marking off bleachers for social distancing. Right now, they are not limiting how many players can play a sport.

One thing that will remain closed for the time being is the Johnson City Public Library. It will reopen Monday, April 19th, with limited capacity and a mask requirement. The library says it will continue curbside pickup. Toys, games and seating areas will remain closed.

Another thing the community can look forward to, summer camps will happen this summer in Johnson City. Registration for those will begin next Monday, April 19th, online.

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