By now, many have grown wearisome of the “stay home” directive, but not necessarily of doing their part by preventing the spread of COVID-19.
For those Washington County residents who can relate to the former, Warfield Point Park may be a welcomed sight as it is now allowing campsite, recreational vehicle and boat ramp access.
The Washington County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to resume access to those amenities of the park on Tuesday, effective immediately.
Pavilion rentals will remain suspended and gatherings are still prohibited.
However, the resumption allows for some outdoor enjoyment with family.
Washington County Parks Coordinator Jeremy Smith said his office has been receiving an abundance of calls about the reopening.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there had been reported incidents of theft and vandalism, which caused the park to close abruptly, but Smith explained the extent of the park’s closure coincided more so with the rise of the pandemic.
When asked if the halt to park activity had any effect on he and the Warfield Point Park staff, Smith said, “We’ve been a little bored,” noting that clerical tasks became more of the norm.
“I’m actually happy to be getting back out there,” he added.
BOS president Carl McGee expressed his support of residents having the opportunity to spend some time outside of their homes.
“Those who would like to go out and park their RVs on the weekend or spend a day just overnight camping need to have that access to get out of the house,” he said.
He pointed out that many people have been cooped up in their homes since the latter part of February, which could possibly cause them to get somewhat “stir crazy.”
“With things kind of easing up, even though we’re still in the midst of this pandemic, people still need an opportunity to get outside of the house and relax and enjoy themselves if it’s just with only their families and close friends,” McGee added.
Leland resident Bonnie Williams recalls Warfield Point Park being a “go-to” for school field trips during her days as an educator.
“It didn’t seem all that appealing to the kids right off, but once they would get off of those buses and take in all of the beautiful scenery and run around all of that wide open space, it was everything,” she said.
The park had been closed for several months dating back to August 2019 due to the extensive flooding from the Mississippi River then it closed quickly again after vandals broke in and damaged the park’s electrical system.
After the flooding, the cleanup process was an arduous one.
One of the biggest tasks Building and Grounds Director Donald Davis and his crew were faced with after the flood was removing fallen trees.
However, much to the park’s and patrons’ misfortune, vandals got on to the property of the park and caused an estimated $30,000 worth of damage to the electrical system.
It was reported the damage occurred near the bathrooms.
Power boxes were destroyed and electrical wires were cut and Davis said the vandals looked to be stealing copper.
Because of the damage that was inflicted, there is still no access to the restrooms, only port-o-potties.
Davis said he is looking into possibly getting some portable buildings to accommodate patrons until the issues with the electrical system are mitigated.