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New Decatur Parks and Recreation logo.
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New Decatur Parks and Recreation logo.

Decatur parks' keys going electronic

By Melanie B. Smith
msmith@decaturdaily.com 340-2468

If you are a recreation league coach, worker or parent and you have a key that fits some lock at a Decatur Parks and Recreation field, be forewarned.

Soon it won't work.

That change, plus some new scheduling rules to accommodate school testing, will mean adjustments for teams this spring.

Parks and Recreation officials are planning a new key system that will replace the dozens of locks and keys being used now.

Paul Floyd, facilities and operations manager, told board members Thursday that all of the keys to concession stands, press boxes, irrigation pump houses and other buildings will change.

He said the shift is necessary because so many people have keys that the department can't keep up. He said coaches or parents sometimes open doors to turn on lights or turn off sprinklers, and the department doesn't know until lights are burning at 1 a.m. or turf burns for lack of water.

"It's something we've got to do," Floyd said of the change.

He said the new system will use an electronic code and the office will keep records of who has keys. The new keys cannot be copied except by the department.

Floyd said he's had numerous incidents of tampering and even vandalism of irrigation pumps.

He said he won't know the cost until the department tallies the number of locks and league coaches tell him the numbers of keys they need.

Floyd said that savings in repairs to equipment and materials should offset the cost of the key system.

Testing closures

Another board decision will mean ball players won't be out late on some specific school nights in February and April.

The board voted to close all Parks and Recreation fields at 6:30 p.m. on 13 dates when Decatur City Schools has testing scheduled.

The dates are Feb. 25-28, April 1-5 and April 8-11.

A letter from Kelly Varnell, athletics recreation coordinator, is going out to field users.

Parks and Recreation Director Jeff Dunlap said coaches he's met with understand and appreciate the reasons for the closings.

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