Release Date: April 22,2020
City of Akron Announces Changes to Lock 3 and Recreation Programming
Mayor Horrigan renews commitment to equitable access to healthy public space and recreational opportunities through COVID-19 crisis
Akron, Ohio, April 22, 2020 – Today, Mayor Dan Horrigan and the City’s Office of Integrated Development, which oversees Lock 3 and City Recreation, are announcing changes to the City’s event schedule for the 2020 Spring and Summer seasons. Most large events, including all Lock 3 concerts and festivals, are being postponed to 2021. Smaller events are being carefully considered and tentatively planned with health precautions and social distancing in mind.
“Ohio Governor DeWine and Health Director Dr. Acton have publicly indicated that large gatherings will be the last wave of activity to be opened back up,” Deputy Mayor for Integrated Development James Hardy said. “After lengthy discussion with state and local health officials, we determined that it was not tenable to plan large, close-quarters events for this spring or summer, as those would likely still create an unacceptable risk of spreading COVID-19. Additionally, it will be necessary for the City to put in place public health protocols for programming that does occur this summer, including wearing cloth masks and achieving good physical distancing. We want to give our staff, performers, and fans timely information so they know what to expect and how to plan.”
“As we look to an uncertain future with respect to this virus, the City must make decisions now. As we considered how to hold events and support the community this summer, the conclusion to postpone festivals and Lock 3 programming was a very difficult decision, one we certainly did not welcome,” Mayor Dan Horrigan added. “These events are important moments in our community that we look forward to each year, and it is a significant loss to forgo these celebrations. But we knew 2020 was going to be different, and large gatherings are unlikely to be safe for some time. The health and wellbeing of our residents, customers and staff come first. We look forward to welcoming the public back to Lock 3 when the time is right. In the meantime, we will be creative in how we engage and entertain the community this year.”
Mayor Horrigan has challenged the Office of Integrated Development to develop alternative programming, where possible, to offer recreation and entertainment in ways that are safe and allow for physical distancing. One example is the idea to create smaller fireworks shows across the City on July 4, to replace the traditional large Independence Day celebration at Lock 3 downtown, which has been cancelled for 2020. Tish Jernigan, Downtown Operations Manager, came up with the idea and has been working with the Akron Police and Fire Departments to develop a plan.
Below is a list of categories of events that have been cancelled, as well as those that are still being considered and planned, as of the date of this release. Please check back to www.akronohio.gov/COVID19 for the most up-to-date information as announcements are made regarding future events.
The following events are POSTPONED and will not be held in 2020:
- All City-sponsored events with an expected attendance of 250 or more, scheduled before September 7, 2020.
- Friday Night Rock the Lock Series
- Lock 3 Saturday Night Concerts
- Lock 3 Festivals, including:
- Kids Festival (would have been held June 20)
- Rib, White and Blue (would have been held July 1-4)
- Italian Festival (would have been held July 9-11)
- African American Festival (would have been held July 18-19)
- Taste of Ireland (would have been held August 8)
- Pizza Festival (would have been held September 4-6)
- The annual Akron Arts Expo (would have been held July 23-26).
- Sunday Akron Symphony Orchestra concerts
The following City-sponsored events remain subject to postponement/cancellation, based on public health guidelines and available resources. The City is examining ways to safely host:
- Late Night Basketball
- Lock 4 Blues and Jazz
- Lock 4 Gospel
- Lock 3 Beer Tastings
- Lock 3 Movies
- Cascade Food Trucks
- Summer Concert Series in the Park
- Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival
Currently, the City of Akron community centers are scheduled to reopen for core operation on June 1. The Recreation Division is planning to move forward with summer camps at the community centers and open the outdoor pools and splash pads at Joy Park and Patterson Park on June 8. (The Patterson Park splash pad is currently under construction and will be operational by that date.) Finally, the City is working with Akron Public Schools and the Ohio Department of Education on how to move forward with the Summer Food Service Program to ensure access to essential nutrition for students and families in need.
All events that the City of Akron hosts or sponsors are subject to cancellation based on public health guidance as well as the availability of needed resources – including funding, any necessary protective equipment, staffing, etc. Events hosted or sponsored by private community groups, requiring City property or permits, have been cancelled through June 1, and future events are subject to cancellation based on then-current public health orders/guidelines as well as the individual group’s decision whether to proceed. To inquire into the status of specific runs, walks, privately-sponsored events and fundraisers, please reach out to individual organizations.
Priorities for Mayor Horrigan and the Office of Integrated Development for recreation and community programming in 2020:
“My priorities for programming will be to maintain access to parks and playgrounds, community centers, and pools, as long as we can do so in a healthy and safe way,” Mayor Horrigan said. “Our urgent hope is to find a safe and healthy way to host smaller community events, where individuals can practice social distancing and access proper hygiene resources. However, large close-quarters events, like Lock 3 concerts and festivals, present too great a risk to the health of Akronites at this time.”
If dramatic changes occur in the public health situation, including the widespread availability of a COVID-19 vaccine or universal testing, the City will re-evaluate these guidelines at that time. But those circumstances do not appear possible in the coming months.
As a reminder, the COVID-19 emergency has not diminished the City of Akron’s commitment to public space and the values of the OID Five-Year Strategic Framework. While the world, and Akron, will certainly look different in the coming months and years, Deputy Mayor Hardy’s opening comments upon the release of the Plan ring as true as ever. “In Akron, we are working to build a city that is resilient in the face of an ever-changing world.” And Mayor Horrigan’s call to “work smarter together to build and sustain an Akron that is healthy, equitable, beautiful, and resilient,” will be even more urgent as we address a new threat to the economic and social health of our families and neighborhoods. No matter how this current crisis evolves, City government will continue to be a steadfast partner in the effort to improve quality of life for all Akronites.
Please check back to www.akronohio.gov/COVID19 for the most up-to-date information regarding the City services, events, facilities, and resources.