The city of Shelby Parks Department is anticipating getting an estimated $25,000 in COVID-19 relief funds. Much of the funds are being eyed for restroom equipment. Parks Superintendent Jerry Marshall provided a recent update to the city's Board of Park Commissioners.

SHELBY — When it comes to Shelby’s parks, there’s no shortage of possibilities involving hands-on activities.

Basketball, swimming, tennis, volleyball, other sports and playground fun are just a few examples of some activities that can be enjoyed in the park system.

But with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic raging for most of this year, Shelby parks are looking at going “touchless” when it comes to some parks' features.

Shelby Parks Superintendent Jerry Marshall updated Shelby’s Board of Parks Commissioners on the effort during the board’s most recent meeting on Nov. 9.

About $25,000 in COVID-19 relief funds are expected to be made available to Shelby parks so that they can “go touchless," primarily in park restrooms, he detailed in remarks to the board and in a written report.

“We are looking to go touchless as much as possible, not just because of this virus but any future sicknesses, viruses that come along,” Marshall said.

He detailed what this would entail.

“We are looking at 20 light switches going to motion-detected, 20 sink faucets going to touchless, 12 door openings (equipment), which I’m getting a quote on right now,” he said. “The first two we have got in-house already.”

Multiple new toilets, possibly up to 20, are on the list for parks, as well.

“They are about $1,200 a toilet to replace to go touchless,” Marshall said. That work may start at Seltzer Park South and Rabold Park. 
“We’ll see where we have funds and go from there,” he said.

Some hand dryers also may be replaced, including six that have push-buttons.

“If we go with the dryers, it might even replace the paper towel a little money on the park funds,” Marshall said. “Towels probably are one of the more expensive things to buy.”

Some park restrooms currently have both paper towels and hand dryers. “Is it necessary to have both is the $64 question?” Marshall said. “If we go with the touchless hand dryers, I think we’ll just try to go without the towels and let people dry their hands that way and see how that works.”

New trash can lids, up to 21, also are on the potential purchase list. “Something that people don’t have to touch,” Marshall said. “Right now, we have 55-gallon drums that have lids on them, and people have to manually pull the lid off.”

“If we start running out of funds, we’ll prioritize,” he added.

Earlier, Marshall reported parks had already used some COVID funds to purchase an electrostatic sprayer in addition to 10 more gallons of a disinfectant.

He noted that he had been in contact with John Ensman, Shelby’s municipal utilities director, about the future COVID funds.

“He called me, and we kind of touched base on things the city is doing,” Marshall said of the touchless efforts.

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