The playground at South Russell Park is open and will be disinfected regularly after the Village Council agreed to cut the proverbial caution tape during a special meeting last week.

“The playground has been closed since the pandemic hit, particularly because we chose to stay on the side of the state mandates coming out of Gov. Mike DeWine’s office dealing with the sanitizing of surfaces,” Councilwoman Cynthia Nairn said during the Aug. 26 meeting.

The state issued health precautions beginning in March in an effort to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus. As of early this week, Ohio has had 122,000 documented cases of COVID-19 and 4,128 deaths.

“Chief [Michael] Rizzo has researched a chlorine dioxide anti-microbial treatment that leaves no chemical footprint. It’s used to purify drinking water, used in food and beverage industries, used to sterilize medical equipment and surfaces in hospitals,” Mrs. Nairn said of the precautions to be used to keep the area as safe as possible.

The solution will be sprayed on the playground every morning at 7:15 a.m. Monday through Friday by the South Russell Service Department and by the Police Department on Saturday and Sunday, Chief Rizzo explained.

“We can use this at the police station and Village Hall on a regular basis,” he added. “This is something we can use ongoing, so it’s not a waste of money if the coronavirus ends tomorrow and we don’t have to disinfect the playground anymore.”

The park hours will be 8 a.m. to dusk with a maximum capacity of 30 people, Mrs. Nairn said.

Signs will be posted to inform residents of the changes as well as the necessity for children to disinfect their hands right before and after playing by using the hand sanitizing station that Street Commissioner Tim Alder and his team installed.

Council also talked about finding a home for the Chagrin Valley Herb Society’s tea house offered to the village.

“(Mr. Alder) and his team have already moved the teahouse,” Mrs. Nairn said of the structure that was housed near the Bainbridge Branch of the Geauga County [Public] Library. “The procedure went beautifully. (Herb Society President) Kathy Catani said she was impressed.”

Mrs. Nairn said she walked with Mrs. Catani to look at possible locations for the tea house gazebo.

Council members noted that they will be conducting interviews for the for the fire prevention officer.

The next regular Village Council Meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14.

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