The Dickinson Park & Recreation board hosted its first meeting since the re-opening of the West River Community Center, and the state of North Dakota, Monday. Amongst the discussions, the majority of the meeting dwelled on the effects of COVID-19 to the WRCC, the public parks and the golf courses, including the Heart River Golf Course in Dickinson.

Craig Pearson, the director of buildings/grounds, gave an update on setting up the golf courses and parks while getting prepared for the potential re-opening of the pools at the WRCC.

“We’re not sure when they will officially open, maybe this weekend, maybe even Friday,” Pearson said. “We’re not sure yet, but the lap pool and leisure pool will be ready along with the saunas and the steam room.”

Pearson added, “We’re still working on getting the outdoor pool ready, the plan is to open that May 29th, we’re not sure if that will happen but that is the date right now.”

As discussed in the meetings, while golf courses are allowing people to come back, Pearson added both parks and golf courses are doing everything they can to make it get back to the way they were before.

“As far as parks go there’s a big push to get all the irrigation off and we’ve had to put two liters on everything,” Pearson said. “But as of today, everything is up and going and the parks will be active by Friday.”

As seen with COVID-19 throughout the country, staffing members have decreased due to the financial statements that developed due to limited financial resources. While both the golf courses and the parks had to cut back on some staff, they hope to keep as many staff members as possible.

“The staff are at about half right now,” Pearson said. “We probably won’t go through the year with a full crew on either the golf course or the parks, staff wise, but they’ll be pretty close.”

Matt Mack, the director of recreation/facilities, discussed the numbers for the WRCC and the rise and decline since the re-opening.

“At the end of April we had 6,870 memberships, compared to last year at that time we had 6,833,” Mack said. “But in February we had the highest month we ever had with members with 7,505 members … we’ve dropped 635 memberships since then.”

Mack stated the WRCC is currently averaging 250 members coming into the facility a day since the re-opening of the facility.

“It’s been pretty slow,” he said. “But we didn’t have group fitness classes, we didn’t have the pool open, and that would hurt our numbers.”

The WRCC stated it will create group fitness classes and have them take place outdoors, or if rain, inside the gym, while following the safety restrictions. The WRCC will continue to wait on the re-opening of the locker rooms or day care in order of following the guidelines.

“We don’t know if that will be phase two, or if Governor Doug Burgum will just come out and give the OK to re-open.”