ALBEMARLE — After pausing last year’s springtime events because of safety concerns around the pandemic, Albemarle Parks and Recreation is anticipating a spring season resembling the calendars of years past.
“We’re getting back into the full swing of things,” director Lisa Kiser told SCJ on March 15. “We have a lot of stuff coming up.”
Unlike last year, the parks and recreation department will open its two public pools and continue the long tradition of hosting summer camps and youth baseball, among other seasonal events in Albemarle.
Up next is a socially distanced Easter egg hunt at City Lake Park on April 3; that same afternoon, the department is sponsoring a Work Hard, Dream Big event at the E.E. Waddell Center, featuring a meet and greet with New York Giant (and former West Stanly Colt) B.J. Hill.
On April 9, Food Truck Friday will resume at City Lake Park in the monthly tradition that began last August.
This next installment of the event features a performance by the band Too Much Sylvia — a group that was inducted into the Carolina Beach Music Hall of Fame in 2019 — and food trucks from On-Time Snacks, Smith’s Cafe, Barbara’s Treats, Hilltop Seafood and Elizadale’s Tacos. With an earlier start date and increased vendors, Food Truck Friday has been expanded this year in the hopes of spreading the word and generating more community involvement.
The department is also working to upgrade and repair the facilities of some of its parks in town. A new playground-equipment station was unveiled at Chuck Morehead Park last week; a refurbishment at Rock Creek Park’s playground and tennis courts is next on the list.
Kiser says there has been a notable increase in visitors at Albemarle’s five parks and three public centers ever since the pandemic began over a year ago — an increase that has continued to this day. Because of this, the department is hoping to match the community’s involvement by adding to its staff and actively hiring summer help via online applications on its official website.
The open positions include lifeguards, assistant managers and outdoor recreation assistants.
“In this area, we’re surrounded by natural resources and lots of outdoor-adventure types, so this is just another option for our community,” Kiser said. “Being outside does so much for a total human being for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. During this time where there’s been a lot of stress around the pandemic, it’s nice to see that people are outside enjoying their families or just being outside to do physical activities.”
Between now and March 26, registration for men’s and coed softball (ages 16 and up) are underway on the official Albemarle Parks and Recreation website. The league will be played under World Sports League rules and include both a 10-game regular season and a double-elimination tournament.
Registration for Babe Ruth Baseball (ages 13-15) is also ongoing and will run through April 16. The entrance fee for participants is $65 for city residents and $90 for non-residents.