SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — The city of Sioux Falls closed its outdoor pools for the summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the parks remain open. Many of those facilities are hosting baseball and softball games, keeping the parks department busy.
The view from above Harmodon Park is one of well-manicured fields. No easy task as the Sioux Falls Parks Department is currently operating at 38% of its normal workforce.
“The reduction in workforce that we have this year it’s made things a little more difficult, but they’re still doing a great job and the parks are well-maintained and safe,” Sioux Falls Park Operations Manager Kelby Mieras said.
During a typical summer, seasonal workers outnumber full-time employees 4:1.
“The college-age kids that come and work for us from May to August make up the lion’s share of those positions we didn’t hire,” Mieras said.
Mieras has found help from other city departments, including the library and public parking.
“Full-time employees are having to do some of those tasks, like mowing and string trimming and some of the things that typically would be left to seasonal employees,” Mieras said.
A trio of baseball games here at Harmodon Park were moved to Brandon due to wet field conditions on Tuesday, but Mieras says the shorthanded parks department has done a good job of keeping up with maintenance across the city.
“Our largest critic of us is us, so it’s one of those things, but the resiliency of the people that are taking care of these facilities is outstanding. Their work is outstanding and the proof is in the work that’s being done now in the condition of the facilities,” Mieras said.
As for the baseball fields…
“We’re dragging the infields, we’re mowing, we’re painting foul lines,” Mieras said.
Leaving the kids little to do but play ball.
Mieras says he’s receiving positive feedback on field conditions, and that teams are just happy to be playing games.