By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp said, as of now, the city’s traditional warm weather public events have not been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to give people a little bit of hope in these trying times,” said Westcamp.
City officials held the annual Arbor Day celebration on April 24 by planting a tree in the Groveport Cemetery. Unlike in the past, no school children participated in the Arbor Day event this year and city officials practiced safe social distancing at the ceremony as precautions to offer protection from the coronavirus.
Westcamp said city officials are working with Groveport American Legion Robert Dutro Post 486 on plans to safely hold the traditional Memorial Day ceremony at the Groveport Cemetery.
“We will figure out a way to maintain social distancing in the Groveport Cemetery for the ceremony,” said Westcamp. “We’re not sure if we will have a small Memorial Day parade or not.”
Westcamp said a decision will be made the first week of June on whether or not to hold the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration and parade.
Groveport Community Affairs Director Patty Storts reported to Groveport City Council that she is regularly corresponding with the main vendors for the city’s Fourth of July events and receiving updates regarding the status of the city’s Farmers’ Market.
Westcamp said a decision will be made in September on whether or not to hold Apple Butter Day as scheduled on Oct. 10.City officials are awaiting further pending information from Governor MikeDeWine’s shutdown directives regarding the potential future of these events due to the coronavirus situation.
Status of recreation center,
aquatic center, and senior center
The Groveport Recreation Center, Groveport Aquatic Center, and Senior Center remain closed awaiting further directives from the governor in regards for possible re-opening.
“The governor’s shutdown orders are still in place,” said Groveport City Administrator B.J. King. “We can’t open until those orders are lifted by the governor. We’re hopeful we can still get in part of the swimming pool season.”
According to Groveport Recreation Director Kyle Lund, staff is prepping and filling the Groveport Aquatic Center outdoor pool for its potential opening and searching for lifeguards.
“The coronavirus has greatly impacted our ability to hire new lifeguards,” said Lund.
King added that city officials are gearing up to have the city’s municipal building staff return to work by May 4.
“Safety precautions, proper cleaning and sanitation practices, and social distancing rules will be in place,” said King.
Police responses to the pandemic
Groveport Police Chief Ralph Portier said all the city’s police officers are on their normal schedules and have started bicycle patrol and foot patrols around town.
He added the department has received very few complaints about gatherings of 10 people or more during the coronavirus shutdown.
“Officers are encountering juveniles gathering together and are telling them to disperse,” said Portier. “The Groveport community is responding to the crisis well and in a civil fashion. The Groveport Police have received several donated supplies of masks. Several officers have also responded above and beyond to citizens’ needs by buying toilet paper and water to those who need it. We are continuing to provide high visibility and professional services and are continuing to take strict precautionary measures for our protection.”
Portier added that several jurisdictions in the surrounding area, including Groveport, were recently affected by a group of thieves rummaging through unlocked vehicles in neighborhoods.