Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Orange Community Education and Recreation had a $700,000 deficit at the end of the fiscal year, according to Treasurer Todd Puster. He said that Orange recreation had to give refunds for many programs that were canceled due to the pandemic, leading to a severe loss in funding.

The goal is to break even, Mr. Puster said, and usually Orange recreation is close to it. When it taps into reserves, it is due to a major project.

“Currently we are looking at a deficit, or a cash burn in financial terms, of $750,000 per quarter just because we can’t get the programs at normal level,” Mr. Puster said at the Board of Education meeting on Sept. 29.

Orange recreation Director Jill Korsok said that class participation is down 78 percent.

“She’s been trying to be creative certainly and bring programs to the extent that you can but there’s only so much you can do because this is really an in-person type of activity with recreation,” Mr. Puster said.

Board member Melanie Weltman said that if Orange recreation cannot maintain programs then it needs to cut costs. Mr. Puster agreed, noting that it cannot sustain deficits forever.

Ms. Korsok gave a general update on Orange recreation. Whenever people come for a class, whether indoors or outdoors, they must wear a mask. Masks are not required if they are running or engaged in another physical activity. All participants have their temperature checked.

The Orange Senior Center has a tentative reopening date of Nov. 2, Ms. Korsok said. According to the state’s mandate, staff members must be tested for COVID-19 every other week. There is a reporting system to document that they have been tested and the cost of testing is covered by the state. When the senior center reopens, Ms. Korsok said that there will be limited health and wellness programs offered.

“We of course recommend that anybody, especially our senior adults, speak with their healthcare provider before visiting the center or participating in anything in any capacity,” she said.

Since mid-August, Orange recreation has held 94 classes and served 574 participants. Forty-four of those classes were held virtually and served 175 participants. The classes held in person met in small groups and were primarily outdoors, Ms. Korsok said.

Orange recreation’s annual Halloween event known as Trunk-or-Treat will look different this year. There will be a drive-in movie showing of “Hotel Transylvania” on Oct. 30 from 7-9 p.m. in the parking lot of the Pepper Pike Learning Center, 32000 Chagrin Blvd. A vendor with a food license will package the treats instead of the staff. Ms. Korsok said that families will remain in their cars or within their assigned space, such as a lawn chair next to their car.

“Staff will wear masks, we’ll keep a 6-foot distance, we’ll use sanitizer and staff will be temperature-checked before they begin their assignments,” she said. “[The] Pepper Pike Police Department will assist with parking and traffic control.”

Registration already reached capacity, 100 cars, on Sept. 24 so Ms. Korsok is looking to add a second date, perhaps Oct. 31 from 7-9 p.m.

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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