As The Spigot Turns

The glass is half full as we see a slow return to play!

This week’s “turn of the spigot“ has allowed for some modest social engagement and slow return to recreational play.  During this phase 1 of return to play, we are now able to provide the following updates for services and amenities. While modest, we hope that compliance will allow for further engagement in the coming weeks and will continue to keep you posted on our various social media outlets.

Tennis Courts opening this weekend:
We are coordinating with our Parks Crew to get the tennis courts open for play ahead of this weekend. 

Know Before you Go!  Some reminders about Park Amenities:

  1. Picnic tables will no longer be accessible.  You will find them either stacked or locked until further notice. Please be sure to bring a towel, blanket or chair(s) as needed.
  2. There are limited trash receptacles throughout the park system, so please follow protocols for “pack in and pack out” as you would in any of the Vermont State Parks.
  3. There are no bathrooms or port o lets open and available at this time.
  4. Dogs are required to be on leash at all times
  5. Physical distancing practices of 6 feet need to be observed
  6. No groups greater than ten may gather

Governor’s Recreation Updates:
We are all anxious to get out and play, and with the support of the newest update given by the Governor, we are able to slowly turn the spigot and allow for some additional opportunities for play within our parks.  While folks can now gather for play in groups of ten or less, they need to maintain social distance and are not allowed to engage in contact sports or in any organized recreation activities.  We are working through this new update with all of our user groups and ask for your assistance in following the orders as they stand. At this point, we can’t and won’t sign off on any permits that allow for organized league, instruction or play. We will continue to update the public as additional changes are made to the existing order.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Baseball fields may open up at the end of next week:
While the Governor now supports opening up baseball fields public access, this will not be immediate in South Burlington.  With some full time staff on furlough and no additional seasonal help due to current spending freezes, we need to come up with a basic maintenance plan for the upkeep of our baseball fields with any additional public use.  We will be working toward providing safe recreational ball field space by next weekend; though this is dependent on workflow and weather.  Please note that baseball fields will be mowed and cared for, but not “manicured” and “lined”.  The intent is opening these for community play and not game preparation.  We will continue to provide any updates as we have them.  For this weekend, the baseball fields remained closed and we would ask that you observe and respect all signage.  If gates are locked, it means that you should not be accessing the field so please do not hop the fence.

Dog Park Status: 
The Dog Park remains closed at this time, though we are seeking clarity as to if/when we might be able to open it again.  All indications are that dogs are required to remain leashed, even within the dog park boundaries, so we are evaluating the merits of re-opening. In the meantime, thank you for continuing to keep your dog leashed in all public places (including in all parks) and for not using other fenced in areas as make shift dog parks. 

Coordinating Basketball Court Use with other communities:
While the Governor has given the go ahead to open basketball courts for limited play, we are holding off on replacing the hoops at this time as we are working in a coordinated effort with our neighboring communities. At this point the basketball courts will remain closed.  We will provide additional updates as we have them. 

Status of Programs:
As a reminder, all programs have been cancelled through the end of May.  We hope to have updates on any potential June programing by May 15. Any program announcement will be published on our website, on FPF and also through SoBu Weekly, so stay tuned to those outlets for further information.

Camp Season:
Our camp season remains open for registration without payment at this time.

  • When you are in your cart and proceed to checkout, it will provide you with your summary of charges and amount to be paid today.
  • You must select credit card type first, then enter in the min amount to be paid today which should be $0.
  • From there, click Finish and you will get a receipt showing the amount still due and no CC info needed.

We are working with instructors and facility managers to ensure availably for all our scheduled camps.  As is our protocol, we will be making decisions about cancellations due to enrollment one month prior to the start of each camp.  We will have updates for all June camps by May 15.  If instructors feel comfortable committing, space is granted and available and enrollments meet their minimums, we will be able to support our full menu of specialty camps and are making preparations to do so.

Community Gardens Update:
South Burlington is host to only one Community Garden Site, which is located at the Wheeler Homestead.  Our garden plots for the season are already full, so we can no longer take additional registrations.  These Community Garden Plots have been tilled and will be laid out, staked and marked for use this coming week as we prepare for a May 15 start.  Please do not begin planting until you have been given the official go ahead.  Given the pandemic, there will be additional guidance on safety protocols sent to all gardeners prior to the seasons start, so be looking for those in your in box next week.

We get a lot of inquiries about the Community Gardens on the corner of Swift and Spear Street at the Wheelock Farm.  Please note that these gardens belong to the Burlington Parks and Recreation inventory, so any questions about this location should be directed to them.

The Recreation and Parks Department and the Public Works Department continue to do what we can to support recreational opportunities in a healthy and safe manner within our community.  We continue to be in frequent communication with local and state recreation agencies and decision makers to ensure mutual understanding of amendments and to coordinate implementation.  We know these are difficult times and that we are all missing the luxury of a full menu of opportunities available to us. As we wait anxiously for further future engagement, please enjoy the places and parks that are open and celebrate in the activities we can participate in. While the glass might just be half full, every turn of the spigot brings another drop to quench our thirst. 

Cheers to you and yours!
Your Recreation and Parks Team