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Sections of public parks to re-open in Liberty
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In a split vote the Liberty County Commissioners have approved some uses of recreational facilities during the COVID shutdown; there will be no games but drills are one of the activities allowed under strict rules.

Commissioner Gary Gilliard, known for his “all masks all the time” stance, voted no at Thursday’s meeting. The measure passed 4-1.

Recreation Director Jimmy Martin explained that indoor recreation facilities were shut down but explained that the recreation board believed some use could be permitted while maintaining safe masking and distancing.

Under the new rules one-half of a field can be reserved by a group, and different groups can use opposite halves of the field but may not share space. Times will be staggered to avoid interaction between groups.

Spectators including parents and fans must remain in the parking areas and must observe social distancing rules.

A maximum of two participants and coaches can use batting cages and soft toss stations. Parents, fans and spectators must remain outside the fenced area and observe social distancing.

The tennis/pickle ball courts are limited to two participants per court. Spectators must remain outside the fenced area and follow social distancing rules.

The recreation department is unable to open playgrounds because of the increased COVID virus exposure on playgrounds and the need for supervision.

In other business Chairman Donald Lovette said that Department of Transportation Local Maintenance and Improvement Grant funds had begun flowing to the county and requests for LMIG projects were coming in. “We will do some sharing . . . that’s the only fair way.”

County Administrator Joey Brown said the county was working on a utility ordinance that would enable the county to push required action. County officials have been critical of Centurylink because of long delays in moving lines for construction projects.

Last week Centurylink changed its name to Lumen. 

It claims 450,000 fiber miles on its network and has customers in more than 60 countries.

The commission gave Tax Commissioner Virgil Jones another tool to use in collecting delinquent taxes. Following Thursday’s vote, Jones will be able to go to court to compel tax payments.

County Attorney Kelly Davis briefed the commission on a possible county ordinance to provide for small fines in cases of possession of a small amount of marijuana. The commissioners discussed but did not act on the measure.

Davis told the board that an ordinance would offer flexibility in possession cases and that law enforcement officers would still have the option of using the more severe state law if they chose. Lovette said the ordinance was “a good thing for us to pursue.”

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