The Cortlandt Town Board reluctantly decided Thursday to cancel all summer camps and close the town’s only community swimming pool because of restrictions and hurdles associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
The board also unanimously agreed during a Zoom work session to keep the senior center at the Muriel Morabito Community Center on Westbrook Drive shut down for the summer, except for use as a cooling center when necessary, and have the youth center off Route 9A closed at least through July.
“I was hoping for something against the odds, but it’s unlikely COVID-19 will pass,” said Councilman Dr. Richard Becker. “Sometimes you just have to go with the hand you’re dealt. I think we have no choice.”
“There’s a whole host of reasons not to open this season. We’re not alone,” said Councilwoman Debbie Costello.
Recreation Department Director John Palmietto said the town usually has about 125 summer campers but this year became a challenge when town officials were informed facilities in the Hendrick Hudson and Lakeland school districts would be off limits.
In addition, 95 percent of the youth that attend camp are transported by school buses where mandated social distancing would be problematic.
Supervisor Linda Puglisi stressed the unknown disease that is striking youngsters at an increasing rate was the deciding factor for her.
“There is nothing more important than the health of people, especially children,” Puglisi said.
That same line of thinking, along with the construction of a new bathhouse that has been delayed by NY Pause, convinced the board to pull the plug on the pool. The bathhouse is not expected to be completed until early August.
“Would I want my kids going into a pool during a pandemic or after a pandemic? I wouldn’t,” Puglisi remarked. “It breaks my heart not to open the pool. I never thought I would live to see this.”
The Recreation Department is exploring possible activities that can take place during the summer, such as drive-in movies at the Cortlandt Train Station and Bicycle Saturdays/Sundays somewhere in town.