Community center reopens after state mandated closure

Community center reopens after state mandated closure

OSCEOLA, Ark. (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson allowed gyms to reopen in Arkansas this week, and the Osceola Community Center took to time to reopen.

Safety is on the mind of officials at the community center.

Michael Ephlin, Osceola Parks and Recreation Director, said crews are sanitizing the equipment several times a day, and only a certain number of people are allowed in workout areas.

Right now, only five people are allowed in the two workout areas at a time, and the 12 feet of social distancing is being followed. There are markers on the floor showing the 12 feet distance.

There are sections of the community center closed off, including the locker room showers, and basketball is prohibited in the gym. This is due to social distancing concerns.

Currently, there is a workout class that takes place at night.

One thing that Ephlin is looking forward to is opening the gyms back up to things like basketball because it gives the kids something to do.

“With school being close, and then you know dead period and stuff going on with athletes, a lot of our kids don’t have a lot to do,” Ephlin said. “And they would want nothing more to be able to get back in our community center and get in here and get back to working out or play basketball again.”

Summer sports are currently postponed in Osceola due to COVID-19, but he said the city has its baseball and softball leagues and can play anytime during the summer.

“All we have to do when we get up a good clear directive is to get our teams back together and let them practice a little bit and then we’ll play summer ball,” Ephlin said.

The community center did take a financial hit during April since it was closed. Ephlin hopes the center will be able to make up some of that lost revenue.

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