The Pier Park harbor — seen here in August 2018 — will be open for Grosse Pointe Farms boaters over the Memorial Day weekend.

The Pier Park harbor — seen here in August 2018 — will be open for Grosse Pointe Farms boaters over the Memorial Day weekend.

File photo by K. Michelle Moran

Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms offering limited recreation over Memorial Day weekend

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 20, 2020

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — If the weather is warm, the pool at Pier Park in Grosse Pointe Farms is typically teeming with families cooling off as they enjoy the unofficial start to summer over Memorial Day weekend.

But this year, with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s stay-at-home order still in effect to curb the spread of COVID-19, things will be a lot different in the Farms and elsewhere. 

Farms Parks and Recreation Director Chris Galatis said the only activities that will be permitted at the park this weekend will be boating, walking, running and fishing, in accordance with the state mandate. In addition, only residents will be allowed to visit the park — no guests. Galatis said the park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and those hours will be the same during the holiday weekend.

“We aren’t planning on limiting the number of people in the park this weekend, but are asking residents to adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines, along with only being with their family that they reside with … due to the governor’s orders,” Galatis said in an email interview.

At press time, City Manager Shane Reeside said the city doesn’t know if it will be able to open the pool at all this summer.

“We’re taking a wait-and-see approach,” Reeside said. “It most certainly will not be opening in the immediate future.”

Reeside said “there’s a lot involved” with regard to opening the pool, including staffing and special training, and then there are also whatever guidelines are established by state and county officials to address COVID-19 concerns.

“Once we know what the parameters would be for reopening the pools, we’d have to make sure we’d be able to meet the parameters,” Reeside said.

The city already has hired lifeguards for the summer season, and Reeside said the lifeguards have been told the pool wouldn’t be opening for a normal summer schedule this year.

The use of playscapes and similar features — which are closed now in keeping with state guidelines — also remained in question at press time.

“They will open in accordance with state orders and the recommendations of our health experts, including the Wayne County Health Department,” Reeside said.

Although the pool, classes and other offerings at Pier Park aren’t available at the moment, Reeside said the park “has been getting quite a bit of use” from people looking for ways to exercise, relax and delight in the natural beauty of the waterfront. Galatis echoed that sentiment.

“It has been important that our park has remained open during this pandemic,” Galatis said. “The ability for our residents to get outdoors, get some fresh air and exercise, and enjoy the beauty of park — all while maintaining social distancing — is something we believe to be essential.”

The top priority for officials is keeping residents safe and healthy.

“The reopening of various activities at the park will be (a) fluid process dependent on the guidance from federal, state and county officials, as well as health care providers,” Galatis said.