Community Content: Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department intends to build on successes in 2021

Shannon Sorrell
Guest columnist

Just like each of you, the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department is wrapping up 2020 and looking forward to 2021.

Though 2020 programming and events were limited due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the city was recognized for its efforts by both our local community and professionals statewide.

Shannon Sorrell is director of the Whitehall Parks and Recreation Department.

The recently completed Community Attitudes Survey provided that resident satisfaction with parks and recreation programs, prior to COVID-19 restrictions, had increased by 10% to a 70% satisfaction rating. We were thrilled to see such a significant increase in satisfaction in just two years' time, and we look forward to continuing this trend into the future.

We also recently learned that the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association awarded Whitehall with two first-place awards for demonstrating creativity and innovation in meeting community needs.

The first award is for the Teen Employment Awareness Movement, or TEAM, which brought resources to high school students enabling job exploration and preparedness.

The second award is for capital projects, which recognized that the unique model created and implemented with the Whitehall Community Park YMCA is the first of its kind in Ohio.

The department will continue programs and outreach associated with each of these projects in the coming year.

Building on these great successes, the parks and recreation department is working to create new programming that will keep you enjoying your parks and connecting with your community as we venture into the new year.

The department will keep working with local service providers to send Recreation-to-Go boxes home with youth.

Students in the out-of-school day program will have fun with park educators as the team brings hands-on activities and experiential programs into the community-based classes each month.

Small classes and hikes will continue to offer hands-on experiences with our park educators.

And, as weather permits, we hope to see you at more events like the drive-thru ice cream social and parking-lot bingo. 

This spring, as the second of two Clean Ohio Grant Projects is finalized in Whitehall Community Park, we anticipate inviting you to small-group volunteer events to celebrate the canoe- and kayak-launch opening, as well as the Memorial Bench placement.

We also anticipate inviting your family to pick up planting supplies and help us replant native plants throughout Whitehall Community Park.

To get more information about programs and parks, the city’s Facebook page and website, whitehall-oh.us, provide up-to-date information. Registration will be required for hikes and small classes, with health guidelines in place.

And, of course, as we plan activities and programming, we know many of you have great ideas, too, and we welcome your feedback. Please visit the parks and recreation page on the city website to share your thoughts.

Shannon Sorrell is director of parks and recreation for Whitehall.