Bark in the Park

Auburn’s Parks and Recreation Department is already looking toward the spring with a list of programs for the Auburn community to enjoy during the ever-looming Covid-19 pandemic. 

For Ann Bergman, public relations specialist for the city of Auburn’s Parks and Recreation Department, it’s important for Auburn residents to have the opportunity to experience a sense of normalcy when times aren’t so normal, within local, state and national guidelines. 

“We had to revise a lot of our recreation programs,” Bergman said. “Like trying to get Zumba where it's all spaced out and youth sports trying to follow all the CDC guidelines.

“It's been a task.”

When it came time for the city of Auburn to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its Parks and Recreation Department in the midst of the pandemic, Bergman said the decision ultimately came down to what would work best and that decision was to cancel the celebrations. 

“A lot of the energy and events we were going to do for the 50th, everything just had to be re-shifted,” Bergman said. “To maintain and try to have all the events we thought we could have, we decided that the celebration we had planned should not take place.”

Despite not actually celebrating, Bergman stated that the 50th anniversary website was still available to residents who had an interest in learning the history of Parks and Recreation Department and how its presence has affected and enhanced the city of Auburn for the last 50 years. 

“We were able to have some commemorative T-shirts, bags and fashion that we gave away as prizes for different events we had,” Bergman said. “It was all hands on deck trying to get through this pandemic.”

Going into 2021, Bergman said that Parks and Recreation will stand behind its current Covid-19 guidelines. Citing city resources, Bergman feels that Auburn and its communities are very fortunate to have facilities that can still host a large number of people while practicing social distancing. 

“You know we are fortunate,” Bergman said. “We were recently able to have Jingle Jog and we are still planning to do Polar Plunge with the guideline of social distancing.

“The key to that is no congregation and separating people by waves, just like we did at Jingle Jog. You know, we’re lucky. With such large parks, the city of Auburn is very fortunate to be able to still host these events without putting anyone at risk.”

As for upcoming events, Bergman said that Parks and Recreation is still planning to schedule things tentatively — playing it by ear depending on local, state and federal orders in the event of another possible shutdown. Residents can still expect to see some of their favorite spring events, though, like Bark in the Park and the City Market at Town Creek Park, if hosting the event is safe to do. 

Registration of Auburn Youth Sports has also begun for interested Auburn residents. With team spots available in a variety of sports, the city of Auburn is encouraging all young Villagers to step into the new year with a new sports team. With a deadline of Jan 22, residents are encouraged to register online on the city’s website.  

For more information, Bergman encouraged those interested to head to the city's website and locate the Parks and Recreation section for any updates or information about events. 

 As for Bergman, she gives all the thanks to the Auburn community’s support in curbing the spread. 

“The Auburn community has really stepped it up,” Bergman said. “They wear their masks, they social distance when they come to our events and, you know, I think they are glad we are still able to host events even if they are modified.”

“Really, that's why we are able to do everything. Everyone follows the guidelines.”

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