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Colonial Park Paddle Boats, Spray Park Won’t Open, Events Cancelled By Park Commission

The Colonial Park Spray Park is among the attractions and events that will not open or are cancelled for the rest of the year. (File photo.)

Events and attractions at county parks – such as the paddle boats and spray park at Colonial Park – are cancelled or not going to open this summer, the county park officials said April 21.

The cancellations are due to non-existent golf revenues from county golf parks, since they’ve all been closed since March, according to a press release from the Somerset County Park Commission.

Also on the chopping block is the the Colonial Park putting course, the Rose Day Festival at the Rudolf W. van der Goot Rose Garden at Colonial Park, according to the release.

The Commission has also canceled the July 4th celebration at North Branch Park and the Summer Concert Series at Duke Island Park, according to the release.

The Commission generates a significant amount of the revenue needed to operate active/special use parks, maintain general use parks, and provide programming throughout its system from golf revenue, the release said. With its golf facilities now closed due to the COVID-19 emergency, the Commission must take severe steps to ensure its financial well-being.

“The decision to cancel some really unique experiences that have been enjoyed by Somerset County residents for decades has not been made lightly, but without the significant revenue that we are able to generate from golf fees, depending on how long our golf courses remain closed, we will have a budget gap to fill that puts the maintenance of our other park facilities at risk.” Park Commission president Mark Caliguire said in the release. “Given the unparalleled global circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and the utmost concern for the safety and well-being of our staff members, the thousands of acres of parks and open space that we steward, and those individuals who contribute to our programs, the Commission whole-heartedly believes that this is the best course for the remainder of the year.”

The Commission plans on opening county golf courses when the coronavirus restrictions are lifted, according to the release.

“This terrible pandemic has affected so many individuals, families, and organizations. The Somerset County Park Commission is no exception,” Park Commission Secretary-Director Geoff Soriano said in the release. “Our golf facilities are the Commission’s financial lifeline as revenue generated from golf helps to fund much of our other departmental programming. The loss of golf revenue for the better part of March and April has severely compromised the Park Commission’s functionality, and we are optimistically awaiting the day when we can open our first tees to our loyal golfing patrons. We’ve put a plan in place and will be ready to pivot if circumstances change either for the better or the worse.”

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