Reopening Manchester Recreation

Options for the Summer

Dear Manchester residents,

Before all else, we sincerely hope that you and your loved ones are safe and healthy during these uncertain times. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the start to summer in Manchester has been radically different in comparison to summers prior. Fortunately, with new guidelines and safety measures in place to protect the community, we plan to reopen some facilities and begin activities that would normally be available during the summer season. Finally, there will be opportunities to get out of the house, enjoy the weather, and shake off the cabin fever! Everyone at the Department of Leisure, Family, and Recreation is excited to be able to offer families a variety of ways to enjoy the summer in a manner that is both safe and health-conscious. In this letter, we provide key information on the reopening and functioning of facilities this season.

According to Phase 2 of the Reopen Connecticut guidelines released by Governor Ned Lamont, sports, sports clubs and complexes, gyms, fitness centers, and pools will be able to open at a limited capacity starting June 17th. Our department will be strictly following all of the protocol provided by the state. In agreement with these guidelines and in order to properly prepare our facilities, we will begin the reopening process starting the week of June 22nd. Please see the listings below for more specific dates of reopening. We require that all community members also adhere to the most recently updated guidelines, which includes wearing face masks throughout the facilities with the exception of during physical activity or swimming. Although wearing masks or cloth coverings may be annoying when trying to enjoy a day at the pool, it is important to keep yourself and others as safe as possible! For more details on how we will be implementing this protocol, as well as schedules and further description of specific facilities or activities, please see our department’s Summer 2020 Modified Recreation Program Guide.

WHAT WILL BE OPEN?

Swimming Pools

All pools will be open on July 6th with modified schedules and entrance procedures. In accordance with Phase 2 protocol, there will be limited capacities of pools. There will be no swimming lessons offered this season. In addition, entrance to the pools will be restricted to Manchester residents only. Non-resident guests will not be allowed to enter. To ensure that swimmers and patrons will be able to enjoy the water safely, we will be promoting healthy hygiene practices, increasing cleaning and disinfection, and encouraging social distancing by changing deck layouts. We hope all residents look forward to this great option for cooling off and enjoying hot summer days!

Public Park Amenities with the Exception of Playscapes

Most public park amenities with the exception of playscapes, will begin reopening for public use starting June 22nd. This includes the Manchester High School track. The process of returning basketball rims to all courts will also begin. You can finally start getting in some laps at the track or practicing your layups, while keeping social distance of course!

Adult Outdoor Fitness

We have taken the indoor adult fitness programs to the outdoors! All of the adult fitness classes will be held at Carlin Field at Mt. Nebo park located on Spring Street. E­ach class will practice the recommended 6 feet social distancing. Programs will be staggered to insure safety. Featured programs this summer include:

  • Yoga for Active Lifestyles
  • Power Yoga
  • Barre Fusion
  • Pilates
  • Moon-Lit Yoga
  • Power Hike
  • Power Walk
  • Team Fit
  • Total Body Plus

For more details please see our Summer 2020 Modified Recreation Program Guide. Registration for these programs will begin June 22nd. Online registration will be available 24/7 by logging on to RecOnline.townofmanchester.org. Don’t remember your username or password? Having difficulty registering from your home computer? Just give us a call at (860)647-3084 or (860)647-3085 for information or registration over the phone. This is the perfect way to stay involved and get some much-needed exercise this summer.

Pavilion Use Permitting, Event Permitting, and Athletic Field Permitting

Permit use of athletic fields this season, as we transition to Phase 2, will be restricted to resident groups only. This does not apply to pavilion use or event permitting.

Rec on the Run

Also starting June 22nd, Rec on the Run, our mobile pop-up creative arts, sports and games vehicle, can be found across neighborhoods and parks in our community this summer. This is a great option for those who want to be a part of recreation programs and activities in a safe and accessible way. This summer, all activities will be offered in “to-go” kit formats, allowing for easy activity pick-up onsite. Rec on the Run will visit the several park locations in town once per week from 6:00-8:00 PM. Get ready for some fun creative arts, sports and games when Rec on the Run stops by a location near you!

East Side Resource Center

The East Side Resource Center will be offering outdoor learnshops and activities on Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 PM this summer. Learnshops that will be held at the Spruce Street Community Garden include:

  • Making the Most of Small Space Gardens
  • Rain Barrels and Other Water for Your Garden Needs
  • Dealing with Mold and Other Problems
  • Pruning Perennials and Vegetables
  • Planting Peas and Other Cold Weather Crops

There will also be an Increased Opportunity Fishing activity at Salter’s Pond. See the Summer 2020 Modified Recreation Program Guide for details. Some of these activities require registration, which will be available 24/7 starting June 22nd by logging on to RecOnline.townofmanchester.org. Nothing better than getting some fresh air and learning some key skills!

Spruce Street Market Nights

Avoiding trips to the crowded grocery store? Head to the Spruce Street Market to find locally grown produce, farm raised eggs and meats, and fresh baked goods. This is a great way to support local businesses and change up your routine! The Spruce Street Market will run every Wednesday, July 1-August 19, from 4:30-7:30 at 153 & 163 Spruce Street. The market aims to provide the East Side community with an alternative place to source local, healthy foods. The market will be accepting SNAP and double SNAP benefits. If you are a local vendor and are interested in participating in the market please reach out. For any questions regarding the reopening of the market, contact the Office of Neighborhoods and Families at (860)647-3089 or sprucestmarket@manchesterct.gov.

MELC School-Age Summer Program

Although the town of Manchester is not running summer camps this season, we are partnering with Manchester Early Learning Center, which will be hosting a school-age summer program from July 6th to August 7th at Mahoney Recreation Center and Assumption School. Online registration for these programs will begin on June 15th at www.melearning.org. There is limited space in this program.

Girl Scouts of Connecticut Summer Camps

Another nearby opportunity is the summer camp program run by Girl Scouts of Connecticut open for girls ages 5-17. The camps offered include Camp Laurel in Lebanon, Camp Merrie-Wood in Manchester, Camp AnSeOx in Oxford and Camp Aspetuck in Weston. The camps are available to members of Girl Scouts. For those who are not members, there is a section for campers to sign up as members of Girl Scouts at the start of the registration process. You can register online today at gsofct.org. Financial assistance is available to members. For any questions, contact Girl Scouts of Connecticut at (800)922-2770.

WHAT ARE WE ANTICIPATING TO OPEN?

Splash Pads, Playscapes and Swings

While these facilities offer a space for children to get exercise and enjoy the summer weather, Phase 2 of the state’s Reopen Connecticut plan does not include the use of splash pads, playscapes and swings. According to the state’s planned reopening protocol, we anticipate these facilities to reopen in mid-July as a part of Phase 3. For now, these facilities will remain fenced off until we are allowed to reopen them.

WHAT WILL NOT OPEN?

Recreation Centers

All recreation centers, including Mahoney and the Community Y, will be closed for the summer season. However, the centers will still be staffed and available for phone calls and working with patrons when necessary. 

Community Y Fitness

The Community Y Fitness Center will continue to remain closed as we cannot comply with the guidelines for social distancing within the space. However, the town offers the Jay Howyrod Fitness Trail, a 0.2-mile stone dust loop trail which features an 8-piece workout circuit and sits on the waterfront of Union Pond.

Adult and Youth Organized Sports

Although the town will not be offering any organized sports this summer, we will be partnering with local youth sport organizations to accommodate some level of play if those organizations desire. The town will also move forward to offer a shortened season adult softball league, which will be an 8-week program beginning in August through September.

Summer Camps

The town of Manchester is not running summer camps this season. However, we are partnering with Manchester Early Learning Center, which will be hosting a school-age summer program as previously listed.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Recreation Membership

This summer, we will not require facility passes. However, we will be requiring proof of Manchester residency for entrance into the pools. 

Since mid-March, the sudden closure of school and recreational activities has left many of us without options for structured physical activity and leisure. While the past few months have been a difficult adjustment, we hope that the reopening of these facilities and recreational activities will bring you some respite and joy during the summer season. Once again, we require that all community members adhere to the most recently updated guidelines provided by the State of Connecticut, especially as it pertains to personal protection. For additional details on all offered programs please see the Summer 2020 Modified Recreation Program Guide. As we begin to reopen, remember to keep safety in mind while having fun and enjoying the summer. We look forward to seeing you all!

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