October 16, 2021

Playgrounds begin reopening in Cortland County

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Camarri Poston, left, and Camai Poston play Friday at Beaudry Park in Cortland. Parks in Cortland, Homer and elsewhere began reopening after being closed for months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Christy Stevens stood Friday at Beaudry Park in Cortland while her granddaughter Naya Lopez played with other children on the playground.

“It’s a beautiful day in Cortland when the parks are open,” Stevens said.

Playgrounds in Cortland and nearby towns and villages have opened or are opening after coronavirus restrictions forced their closure three months ago.

“I’m very pleased,” said John McNerny, the director of Cortland’s Youth Bureau and the Parks and Recreation Department. “I think the children and families in Cortland can get out and play” after being cooped up during the pandemic.

The Cortland Common Council voted Tuesday to reopen playgrounds at the city’s parks — Suggett, Yaman, Dexter and Beaudry — after McNerny had informed the council that all playground equipment had been disinfected and they will continue to be disinfected routinely.

The skate park at Yaman Park also reopened Friday after Mayor Brian Tobin’s approval.

Signs have also been put around the playgrounds that provide health and safety tips such as remaining 6 feet apart, frequently sanitizing hands and wearing a mask.

The kids, though, seemed too caught up in the excitement to follow the protocols. Bathrooms will remain closed to comply with social distancing guidelines and also due to staff cuts at the Youth Bureau, which maintains the city’s parks, McNerny said.

The village of Homer’s two playgrounds — at Newton Park and Durkee Memorial Park — have also reopened, Village Clerk Dan Egnor said.

“The phases are happening and we’re trying to come out of the cocoon we are under,” he said.

Egnor recommended that people, especially parents, make sure they are staying safe at the playgrounds.

“It’s going to take all of us to keep our curve flatten and prevent spikes,” he said.

Cortlandville was in the process Friday of opening its two playgrounds, in Blodgett Mills and on Lamont Circle, Supervisor Tom Williams said, though he wasn’t sure of the status.

He said that the town will use the same safety protocols as Cortland and asked that parents watch out for the safety of their children when playing.