2020 - What a year! When the COVID-19 pandemic started making its way around the world, we had no idea what was about to hit us. In mid-March, Provo City found itself scrambling to adjust to new safety and health guidelines.
The Mayor and City Council were amazed at the resilience and adaptability of our Provo City employees. We made this video to express our gratitude and to help the community to understand how we kept Provo City running during the pandemic.
The latest City newsletter shows a Top 10 of Provo City happenings in 2020.
PARKS AND RECREATION
- Our facilities throughout Provo all added temp checks, increased cleaning schedules, extra spacing for equipment and seating, and set policies for mask wearing and social distancing.
- Our Department worked on aggressive timelines to keep all facilities open when allowed, and met the Governor’s guidelines for safe usage of our facilities. This included multiple revisions and changes to programming and facility policies.
- Parks and trails saw dramatic increases in usage, while keeping up high maintenance standards.
- Areas of the Department that had facility closures in spring were able to keep staff employed by working on projects throughout the department.
- Special Events created multiple virtual and social distanced events, creating unique opportunities for the public to stay engaged and entertained.
- During the pandemic, our Department has never stopped or slowed down. This has been a year of exceptional progress, including these projects:
- Department Accreditation
- Receiving Best of Utah Award
- Golf Course construction
- Jazz Courts
- Peaks entrance project
- Covey Center Main Hall refurbishment
- Work on the Unlimited Play Center
- Field of Dreams entrance
- Outdoor pool additions
- Lakewood playground
- Construction work on Rotary Park tennis/pickleball courts
- Due to the energy and positive attitude of its staff, Provo Parks and Recreation is a better Department now, after the pandemic, than we were going into it.
The Planning staff switched to virtual public hearings to limit the spread of coronavirus, while still allowing public input. With the pandemic came an increase in building permits and the Building Inspectors masked up to keep themselves and the public safe while continuing to get the work done. Economic Development increased community outreach through the City website and social media, partnering with Mountainlands Association of Governments to get $20 million in CARES funding grants awarded to Provo and Utah County businesses.
COMMUNITY & NEIGHBORHOOD SERVICES
The Community and Neighborhood Services Department moved Planning Board of Adjustment hearings and Transportation and Mobility Advisory Committee meetings online. When necessary, staff worked remotely and were able to hold internal meetings virtually. Zoning Staff continues to be in the field but are taking precautionary measures by masking up during their inspections.
Council staff moved every meeting online - from staff and committee meetings to work and regular Council meetings. As simple as that sounds, It was no easy undertaking to get all the elected officials, various City staff, and presenters connected to the meetings. Staff worked hard to make sure the public could still participate in the meetings as well. Other cities across the country reached out to us for guidance as they tried to move their own meetings online. The efficiency of holding committee meetings online save time and travel and could potentially continue this way even when the pandemic is over. Neighborhood meetings were also shifted online, requiring even more involvement from the staff.
All capital improvement projects (CIP) continued despite challenges with COVID-19. The two largest Public Works projects are on schedule and under construction (Airport Terminal and Treatment Plant). Ongoing daily service has remained uninterrupted, including snow plowing, leaf bag pickups, sanitation pickups, and more.
Media Services is the busiest they’ve ever been. Videos are in higher demand. They’ve shifted to broadcasting all public meetings online through YouTube and Facebook. They’ve also created dozens of videos for various departments to help keep staff and citizens informed throughout the pandemic.
- Finance continued to provide uninterrupted support for all finance functions including purchasing, accounts payable, budgeting and financial reporting. In addition, finance provided extensive support and analysis for all available sources and uses of CARES Act funding.
- Human Resources developed a pandemic policy with intent to limit the spread at work by providing paid leave to employees who have contracted COVID-19, been exposed to someone with COVID-19, or who are symptomatic and awaiting testing. They also oversaw internal contact tracing and quarantine criteria for employees.
- Human Resources also implemented a new software system 100% remotely.
- Information Systems created a website for Provo City COVID-19 information. They also did a huge amount of work to make it possible for City employees to work remotely. In addition, they provided the needed technical support for the remote work and upgraded City servers and network capacity to manage the additional load.
- The Cybersecurity team addressed the rapid increase in Covid-19 related phishing attempts worldwide.
- Facilities installed Plexiglass barriers in several areas throughout City facilities to protect patrons and employees. They also handled sanitizing of facilities.
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