Peoria Park District leaders say the latest restrictions won’t create budget issues, plans to “build back better” next year

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Changes are coming to the Peoria Park District on Friday under the state’s latest mitigation restrictions, but Executive Director Emily Cahill says there are still ways to play at the park district.

Cahill says district leaders kept an eye on COVID-19 numbers, preparing for what could happen and how they could adjust.

Earlier this year, leaders worked to bridge a $2 million budget gap.

Cahill says due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the district lost more than $5 million in revenue opportunities and said nearly half of the district’s budget comes from program and facility fees and charges.

“We have made so many expense controls over the course of the year that where we are now, we will be okay to continue to operate with these changes,” said Cahill.

Cahill says despite the latest restrictions and challenges, the district is now in a better spot financially.

“Fortunately we are thin enough that riding this out through the end of the year will be something that we will be able to do. Our goal is to really look at 2021 as an opportunity to build back better,” said Cahill.

These changes at the park district start Friday:

  • Parks and Trail: max group size is 10, must wear face coverings
  • Camp Wokanda: outdoor camping for families up to 10
  • Forest Park Nature Center: 25 percent max capacity in retail shop
  • Lakeview Recreation Center: dance classes are virtual
  • Logan Recreational Center: moonlight coalition classes max group size is 10
  • Peoria Park District Golf: reservations required, 25 percent max capacity in retail shop
  • Peoria Zoo: advance tickets required, max group size is 10, must wear face coverings, 25 percent max capacity
  • Proctor Recreation Center: Dream squared after school programming and weight room, reduced hours, max 4 people at a time
  • RiverPlex Recreation & Wellness Center: members only, 25 percent max capacity, limited to cardio/exercise, individual training, aquatics
  • Owens Center: individual skating lessons only

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