Madison to continue league ballgames, open shelters

MADISON PARKS officials decided to open parks shelters, such as the building in the photo, to public use this summer. The city has shelters in Westside Park and Baughman-Belatti Park (above). The shelters were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Madison City Commission gave its approval to recent city Park and Recreation Board recommendations that city ball teams playing league games and tournaments can continue playing games on Madison ball diamonds. However, the leagues are not allowed to schedule out-of-town travel team tourneys during July.

On Monday, city commissioners reviewed recommendations from the Park Board's June 9 meeting that also included the use of park shelters, a Mart in the Park event scheduled for July 25, and installation of new playground equipment. City officials had changed public use of city facilities and discouraged some park activities earlier this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Park Board members also recommended that Madison officials open park shelters to public use, but the city would have the option of immediately closing if the area experiences an increase in COVID-19 cases.

According to Mike McGillivray, city parks supervisor, the city maintains two enclosed shelters. One is located in Westside Park near the outdoor swimming pool. The second shelter is located in Baughman-Belatti Park next to a sand volleyball court.

Mayor Marshall Dennert asked if city personnel would clean the park shelters after they were used. The city rents the park shelters for events such as family gatherings or organization meetings. McGillivray said current plans have city personnel cleaning the shelters before and after every rental. Commissioners Jeremiah Corbin and Mike Waldner spoke in favor of allowing the use of the park shelters with the option of closing them again if the number of local coronavirus cases increases.

The Park Board members unanimously supported allowing the annual Mart in the Park, an outdoor arts and crafts show, to take place next month in Library Park.

Mart in the Park is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on July 25 in Library Park. The arts and crafts show, which has also included food vendors and entertainment, serves as a fund-raising event for Madison Christian School.

Melissa Miller, a Madison Christian School representative, met with the Park Board and said the organizers planned to separate the vendors at the show. The organizers also expect to lower the total number of Mart in the Park vendors by one-third.

If the weather is unsuitable on July 25, the organizers may either reschedule it to the next day or cancel the event.

The Greater Madison Area Chamber of Commerce has also scheduled its Crazy Day event on July 26.

The Park Board members recommended that the city should move ahead with installing new playground equipment this summer in Memorial Park.

During the Park Board meeting, McGillivray reported that parks personnel had opened the parks restrooms and baseball and softball teams had helped to prepare the ball diamonds. Madison ball teams were scheduling games during mid-June.

The city Park and Recreation Board has scheduled its next meeting at 5:30 p.m. on July 14.