The Philomath Park Advisory Board’s annual Music in the Park series has been canceled for this summer.
The board met for the first time since the pandemic outbreak on Thursday.
“I think with everything so unsure, I think we should maybe not have Music in the Park at all this year because everything’s so iffy,” board chair Dale Collins said, which was met with agreement from others attending the meeting.
One board member wondered if only May and June could be canceled with the possibility of the event returning in July. But with the state’s ban on gatherings of 25 or more people in place through the end of September, that did not seem like an option.
“The stipulation right now from the governor as far as large groups go — even though the county is reopening, that’s more focused on the business side of things — but statewide the requirement still is no groups larger than 25 through the end of September,” City Manager Chris Workman told the group. “That could change, but that is the guideline right now.”
Trying to stage a concern in October was also thrown out as an idea.
“You start getting into October, you start worrying about weather and school’s going, hopefully, and it just gets harder,” Workman said.
The park board launched Music in the Park in 2016 with intentions of revisiting it after five years. This summer would’ve been the fifth year but based on the board’s comments at the meeting, it will return in 2021.
The event, which has in the past been offered on the third Thursday of the month from May through August at Philomath City Park, has served as a fundraiser for performing arts in the schools. The Lions Club has also participated by selling concessions.
Similar events in other communities have also been canceled for the summer because of the coronavirus pandemic and implemented strategies meant to reduce the spread.
“We’re right in line with what other communities are having to do,” Workman said. “I think that is the decision and frankly, I think that’s a decision that’s already been made for us if we’re going to be restricted to groups of no more than 25 people coming.”
Collins said bands had been lined up for June and August and they will be notified.
“I think people will understand,” Collins said.
In other news from the May 14 meeting:
• Preparations have been made for the eventual demolition of the home sitting on the corner of College Street and North 16th Street, the future site of Cochran Memorial Park. Mayor Eric Niemann was at the meeting and briefed the board on recent developments. Asbestos abatement was completed and the home boarded up after squatters had been discovered. Mid-Valley Gravel will perform the demolition for $900, Niemann said. Republic Services has offered to donate dumpsters and front-end loaders to remove materials and ROTC cadets from Oregon State have volunteered to provide any needed labor. Niemann anticipates that the demolition will occur this year, but the park’s construction will likely be pushed out.
• Collins said there are plans for the flower baskets to go up in the downtown area on May 19. The flowers were ordered back in February, which is necessary to get them in time. This will be the 13th year of the program, which originated with the Philomath Downtown Association and has been continued with oversight from the city. “People have been very, very supportive of it,” Collins said. “Bring a little cheer to town.”
• Workman updated the board on landscaping efforts at Flossie Overman Discovery Park. Workman and his family recently planted trees and grass seed has been ordered to be planted in an area between the pathway and fence. Various types of plants will also be going in.
• The board heard updates on city parks — all continue to be open although restrooms and playgrounds are still off limits because of pandemic-related restrictions.
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