Southwest Valley cities map their own courses for reopening

By Kelly O’Sullivan, Independent Newsmedia
Posted 5/19/20

There will be no cookie-cutter reopenings for Southwest Valley municipalities.

The cities of Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park are all going at their own pace as officials implement plans to …

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Southwest Valley cities map their own courses for reopening

Posted

There will be no cookie-cutter reopenings for Southwest Valley municipalities.

The cities of Buckeye, Goodyear and Litchfield Park are all going at their own pace as officials implement plans to reopen public buildings and other facilities that closed in March when Gov. Doug Ducey issued closure orders to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

Officials in each city announced their reopenings will follow state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on social distancing and enhanced cleaning.

Goodyear was the first to announce it would take a three-phased approach to reopening beginning May 11, when it reopened city offices, basketball, volleyball, tennis and pickleball courts, Roscoe Dog Park, playgrounds and restrooms.

“The health of Goodyear’s residents and the city’s employees is of the utmost importance. To prevent further spread of COVID-19, many city employees will continue to telecommute in Phase 1,” city spokeswoman Tammy Vo stated in a May 8 news release. “Those who will physically come to work and interact indoors with the public with no protective barrier will wear face coverings. The city has also installed glass barriers at public counters and will encourage social distancing through markings on the floor. Employees will also check for virus-related symptoms before their work shifts and thermometers will be available in every city department.”

On May 15, the city announced it would reopen its community pool, splash pad and skate park Saturday, May 23 as part of what it called a Phase 1B reopening.

“The city has seen positive and responsible actions from its residents this week with physical distancing at public counters, and while using recreation amenities including sports courts and playgrounds,” a post on the city’s website, goodyearaz.gov, stated.

Goodyear City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings, which have been held virtually, will reopen to the public in June. The council is scheduled to meet 6 p.m. Monday, June 8 and the planning commission is scheduled to meet 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 10. Both meetings will be held at Goodyear Municipal Court and Council Chambers, 14455 W. Van Buren St., Suite B-101. Goodyear meeting schedules, agenda packets, videos and minutes are available at goodyear.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx.

Goodyear Municipal Court will continue shortened lobby hours, 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday, until further notice, but court staff are available by telephone 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. those days, and can be reached at 623-882-7200.

Those scheduled appear through Friday, May 29 are asked to call the court for updated appearance information. Those who wish to appear via telephone or who want to request a continuance should email their request to goodyearcourt@courts.az.gov or fax it to 623-932-6396 and include their full name, complaint or case number, phone number and address.

For more information on court matters, visitgoodyearaz.gov/government/departments-divisions-a-z/court.

No dates have been announced for the city’s Phase 2 and Phase 3 reopenings.

“The city will look to move into Phases 2 and 3 when the time is right and when the state has indicated a consistent downward trend with virus cases and symptoms in Arizona,” Ms. Vo stated.

Residents can visit the city’s COVID-19 page, goodyearaz.gov/coronavirus, for more information, and find updates on its Facebook page, @goodyearaz.gov.

City of Buckeye

Buckeye officials released a three-phase reopening plan May 19.

“Currently, Buckeye is in Phase One of recovery and will continue operating the city as we have since mid-March,” Communications Director Annie DeChance stated in a news release.

Under Phase One, public access to city buildings remains restricted, and customers can conduct business with the city online or by appointment. Employees who are able to work from home are encouraged to continue to do so, and those working on site are practicing social distancing and disinfecting common areas regularly, Ms. DeChance stated.

“Buckeye is keeping our aquatics center, recreation and senior center and both libraries closed until further notice,” she stated. “This will protect the health and safety of our residents by following the federal guidelines of the Phase One Recovery that still encourages physical distancing and limiting groups of people to no more than 10. While these are important amenities to our residents, opening these facilities also requires significant staff to operate and additional costs for disinfection. Buckeye’s Community Services Department is working on a plan to safely open and operate its pool and summer programs, while following federal guidelines for the Phase One Recovery plan.”

Public meetings will continue to be live-streamed until Phase Three. For meeting schedules, agendas and minutes, visit buckeyeaz.gov/government/city-clerk and scroll down to the Meeting Agendas and Minutes link.

Buckeye Municipal Court is limiting access only to those who are scheduled to appear. They must wear face coverings while inside and stay 6 feet apart. Minors may be accompanied by one parent or guardian, according to the court’s website, buckeyeaz.gov/government/municipal-court.

Those scheduled to appear for civil traffic matters may appear via telephone at (623) 349-6510. Those with outstanding warrants will still be seen, as will those filing a petition for an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment, the website states. Marriage licenses are not being issued and wedding ceremonies have been suspended until further notice.

The court will not provide face masks or coverings, the website states. Those without access to those items are advised to call to request a new court date. Those who are ill also should request a new court date.

For the latest updates in Buckeye, visit buckeyeaz.gov/COVID-19 or the city’s Facebook page, @BuckeyeAZ.gov; and Twitter page, @BuckeyeAZGov. To view and download the reopening plan, visit buckeyeaz.gov/recoveryplan.

City of Litchfield Park

Litchfield Park officials plan to reopen all city facilities Monday, June 1.

“We are working on the protocols now,” Assistant City Manager Matthew Williams said, noting that staff will return to their respective offices that Monday.

Mr. Williams did not have a date for when City Council and other public meetings will transition back to in-person.

“Our May 20 council meeting will be virtual,” he said. “Not sure after that; still playing day-by-day.” The conference room at the Litchfield Park Branch Library, where many of the city’s public meetings are held, isn’t large enough to allow for the 6-foot social distancing recommendation for gatherings.

In addition to City Hall, the Litchfield Park Recreation Center and pool, 100 N. Old Litchfield Road, will reopen June 1.

The pool will operate at a reduced capacity to allow for social distancing and compliance with other safety guidelines, officials said, noting competitive swim league and group swim lessons for children will not be held this year. Patrons will find increased public swim hours and water aerobics, however.

For updates, visit the city’s website, litchfield-park.gov and its Facebook page, @CityofLitchfieldPark. Additional updates can be found on Facebook at @LitchfieldParkRecCenter, @LitchfieldParkYouthSports and @EventsinLP.

Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at kosullivan@newszap.com or 760-963-1697. For up-to-date local reporting on all things COVID-19, Independent Newsmedia has created a webpage dedicated to coverage of the novel coronavirus: #AZNEWSMEDIA

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