Rip Robertson is the Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Tucker. He brings to the job years of experience in Parks and Rec, as well as Public Works. Rip is a former Military Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Army and is active with the Army Reserve.
Editors Note: As of April 1, 2020 all playgrounds at Tucker parks are closed until further notice.
Springtime is usually the busiest time of the year for a Parks and Recreation Department. The weather turns warmer, many of our native plants and flowers begin to bloom; it’s just a great time to be outside!
With the outbreak of the coronavirus, we are going through a situation that I have never experienced before in my decades of Parks management. Many of my colleagues are being told to shut down playgrounds and organized activities; they’re basically being told to suspend operations altogether. This is why I’m especially grateful for our two groups of people here in Tucker: our city leadership and my awesome staff.
Our elected leaders and city management have understood from the start just how important Parks and Recreation can be during a crisis like this. Getting outside and playing in a park is a great distraction from the hours everyone is having to spend isolated inside. That’s why it was important for them to allow us the resources to sanitize playgrounds throughout the City daily, rather than simply shut them down. They empowered our staff to continue working in the parks, ensuring they are pristine for you as you get outdoors during this difficult time.
Speaking of the staff, they have been amazing. I don’t know if you follow us on social media – Facebook is the best way, look for us @TuckerParksRec – but our Recreation Leaders have come up with some great virtual activities that you, your kids, and your neighbors can join in to stay engaged and entertained throughout this outbreak. They’re doing things like virtual scavenger hunts, yoga classes, story times, trivia games and so much more. The best part is no one’s telling them to do this; they’re taking the initiative to keep recreation going in Tucker. It makes me proud to be a part of that effort.
One last note before I wrap this month’s column: I want to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the volunteers and gardeners at the Henderson Park Community Garden. This is the 10th anniversary of that great Tucker destination. I know the Friends group is planning a celebration toward the end of this month. While we don’t know whether that event will be able to happen as scheduled or have to be postponed, these volunteers are to be commended for nurturing such a great amenity in our city parks system.
To close, I hope you’ll stay safe out there this month. It will take a lot of patience for us to get through the isolation and social distancing. If there is anything I or our Parks staff can do to help you during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.