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Decatur reopens basketball courts and park bathrooms

COVID-19 Crime and public safety Decatur Trending

Decatur reopens basketball courts and park bathrooms

Decatur City Hall. Photo by Dean Hesse.
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By Cathi Harris, contributor 

Decatur, GA — The city of Decatur has decided to reinstall the basketball goals and reopen public bathrooms at city-owned parks this week, Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said Monday.

“The city is asking that players wear masks, as basketball is a close contact sport,” Garrett said. “We are also asking residents to bring their own equipment and water. The bathrooms will be open and cleaned twice a day.”

The City Schools of Decatur will also reinstall the goals on school properties after spring break, she said.

The goals were removed last spring when the city implemented its COVID-19 precautions to discourage the gathering of large groups of people in public spaces. The city closed the bathrooms at the same time. 

Garrett made her remarks during closing comments at the regular meeting of the Decatur City Commission. During an earlier work session, City Manager Andrea Arnold responded to a resident’s question about a planned date for re-opening Decatur City Hall.

“We do not have a specific planned date for that, yet,” Arnold said. Arnold and the city’s police, fire, public works and other safety officials meet regularly to discuss any changes to the city’s COVID-19 response. They are continuing to monitor both the numbers of positive coronavirus cases in DeKalb County as well as the rates of vaccination, she said.

When those numbers meet the recommended benchmarks set by public health officials, then the city will consider opening its offices to the public again, she added.

“In some ways it is harder to discern the appropriate time to re-open than it was to decide to close them for the public’s protection,” Arnold said. “We never want to do something that we feel would put people in danger.”

In other business:

-City commissioners approved a grant application to the DeKalb County Department of Community Development to fund the construction of an inclusive playground at Legacy Park. The city will pay for the site development, shipping and installation, which is expected to cost $112,000, said Linda Harris, assistant city manager for community and economic development. The city will apply for 145,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from DeKalb to pay for the playground equipment.

“We’ve added inclusive play equipment at playgrounds at several of our city parks,” Harris said. “This proposed installation would be the first totally playground designed to be totally accessible to children and their caregivers regardless of physical and mental ability.”

-The commission voted to allow the sale of beer and wine at the Truckin’ Tuesday events at Legacy Park. The events will be held every Tuesday in May and again in September. Proceeds from the sales will fund improvements at the park.

-Angela Threadgill presented an update on the development of the city’s new strategic plan. The city will continue to gather community input through virtual forums throughout the spring, and present an initial draft to the commission this summer. More information can be found on the plan website at decatur2030.com.

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