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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Joyce Fletcher hands out supplies to kids at the Avondale Youth and Family Development Center Friday, July 13, 2018, in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga will reopen its recreation sites on June 1, 2021, after a 14-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chattanooga will reopen all 18 of its Youth and Family Development centers on June 1.

During a city council committee and agenda session meeting on Tuesday, city Chief of Staff Brent Goldberg and YFD Deputy Administrator Jason McKinney presented plans to the council on reopening, as promised last week.

Starting June 1, all YFD centers will be open for regular use from 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Senior centers will also open on June 1, for regular hours.

In general, masks will continue to be required for unvaccinated adults across all sites, while masks will be optional for those under age 18 in accordance with upcoming guidelines from Hamilton County Schools.

Some YFD centers will feature extended hours for teen programming at sites that historically have served a large number of teens. These will include Carver, South Chattanooga, Washington Hills and Eastdale.

Unless there is a specific need to be open later, those four sites will be open until 8:30 p.m. for activities such as movie nights, late-night swims and basketball tournaments.

While the city waited until Tuesday to announce details for most YFD centers, last week six summer camp sites — Avondale, Brainerd, Carver, Hixson, JA Patten and South Chattanooga — were confirmed to be opening on June 7. Each location can accommodate 75 children.

How to sign up for camp

To sign up for summer camps, residents can walk into any of the six sites to register or email kbattle@chattanooga.gov.

The city also confirmed four additional camps at the Eastdale, Washington Hills, Shepherd and Westside sites that will be open for drop-ins on a first-come, first-served basis.

One camp will be focused on teaching youth about media production, such as creating videos, graphic design and studio recordings, according to social media posts Tuesday. Registration has already opened for the Go Live! camp, which will run from June 1-July 31 and has slots open for 25 students. Sign-ups are available through the links on the YFD Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

The Warner Park Pool is scheduled to open on May 29, and city pools at the Carver, Brainerd and Chattanooga South locations will open on June 7 at 75% capacity.

All sites across the city will be limited this summer based on each center's indoor capacity, with the smallest location being able to accommodate 30 people, and Goldberg said guidelines are likely to change as COVID-19 data shifts.

While staffing of the YFD centers was brought up as an initial concern last week, Goldberg said the city is working with what it has. Applications for temporary staffers are now closed, but may reopen later if there is still a need.

"With our staffing challenges around summer camp, we are essentially opening everything as much as we possibly can between June 1 and June 7," he said.

District 9 Councilwoman Demetrus Coonrod, who has been an advocate for getting the centers to reopen as soon as safely possible, thanked Mayor Tim Kelly's team for its quick response after a slew of community members addressed the council last week, voicing concerns about the prolonged, 14-month closure.

"Thank you for all your work to make sure that our sites are being opened safely. I do appreciate you listening to the community," she said. "As we heard last week how important our YFD sites are, we still want to provide a refuge and asset that is open to the community and be safe and follow all the guidelines."

Goldberg also thanked Coonrod for "pushing us to make sure we get all the sites open and representing the community."

"We heard it loud and clear, and we're glad we're able to open these sites," he said.

Contact Tierra Hayes at thayes@timesfreepress.com.

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