Riviera Beach preparing to bring back programs to its park

'I think the city should go ahead and bring them back,' one coach said
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Posted at 10:24 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 23:42:00-04

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Coach Z checks out his players as they go through some basketball drills. He said he has heard the City of Riviera Beach is thinking about bringing back activities to local parks.

"I think it's very important, obviously we want the kids and everybody to be safe. But most importantly is the mental side for the kids at home just sitting at home doing nothing right now," he said.

Over the past few months, the City of Riviera Beach has gradually reintroduced some programs for its 13 parks, community centers, and two gyms. Now, the department's staff feels it's time for a more aggressive approach in keeping with established protocols for participant safety.

"Hopefully, do football and cheer season this year that's big for our community. But we're also going to start out with some sports and programs like tennis, baseball," Richard Blankenship said.

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Playing basketball in Riviera Beach

Blankenship is the director of Riviera Beach Parks and Recreation. He said his staff has developed protocols to follow based CDC guidelines and is strong on wearing masks and social distancing when possible.

"That's the beginning, the mask and the social distancing then we do the sanitation. And we're requiring if it's a special event a third party, we're requiring them to present us with a COVID plan and they have to enforce it," he said.

Depending on the opportunity, indoor sports programming may come online late this fall potentially including basketball, cheer, dance, and open gym.

Parks and Recreation is also preparing to bring back summer camps with camps that will be half the normal capacity or 75 campers.

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Coach Z said it's a great idea.

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"Absolutely. I think the city should go ahead and bring them back," he said.

Parks and Recreation will speak with the city council Wednesday. And if they give the ok, they'll start signing up people for programs Thursday.