Walnut Grove Remains Closed as Playgrounds Reopen

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — As restrictions lift Wednesday on some tourist attractions and entertainment venues in the state, including playgrounds, The Walnut Grove announced it will not reopen.

“The way our organization is set up does not allow for us to ensure we can reopen the park immediately on June 10th and adequately follow the guidelines mandated by the State,” said Corey Patrick, president of The Walnut Grove board of directors, in a Facebook post. “We have no staff, we
currently have no restroom facility and our property is private property as we do not receive tax dollars to operate.”

State guidelines require specific hours of use for at-risk populations, including those with special needs, he stated in a press release Tuesday. Guidelines also require wiping high-contact surfaces every hour, establishing a max capacity, placing hand sanitizers in high-contact locations and staggering entry of customers and guests – guidelines that the park isn’t able to accommodate immediately.

Patrick asks for patience and compliance from the community, and says the restrictions and guidelines will help the park “be a better organization at the end of the day.

“Designating certain days and hours for individuals with special needs was already something we were working on rolling out, so doing so earlier than anticipated will allow us to work out the kinks as we go,” he said.

The board is working on a reopening plan and Patrick is optimistic that The Walnut Grove will be open by July. He acknowledges the process won’t be easy or quick.

“Because our facility is designed for individuals with special needs, we would feel like we are doing a disservice to those individuals and the community as a whole if we didn’t do our best to have a plan for appropriate crowd control or cleaning procedures,” he said in the release. “We’ve got a lot of leg work to do, and more importantly, a lot of fundraising to do to cover the expenses. We just want the community to know we are working as hard as we possibly can.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.