City of Hickory prioritizes safety and announces operational changes and updates due to COVID-19
Jul 27, 2020 | Library , Patrick Beaver Memorial , Ridgeview , Public Services , Parks , Collections , Boards and Commissions , Communications , Recreation & Sports Tourism
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to impact the local economy and the lives of Hickory residents. To date, City officials estimate that overall City revenues are down approximately $1 million since March.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, and in the continued interest of public safety, the City of Hickory announces the following operational changes and updates.
Utility payments continue to be collected at the drive thru window located behind City Hall. The drive thru is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Payments may also be submitted through the City’s new online payment system, by mail, and via the 24-hour drop box at the drive thru.
Residential utility customers are reminded that Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 142, which regulates utility billing assistance, expires at 5 p.m. on July 29. Residential utility customers are responsible for all usage and any balances accumulated during the coverage period. August billings will reflect past due notices and notify users of their cut off date. Cut offs will start the first week of September. Customers will automatically be enrolled in a payment arrangement plan, which will evenly spread the past due balance incurred through July 31 across a six-month period. To avoid service interruption, customers must pay the current bill and the minimum monthly installment as outlined in the standard payment arrangement plan. Customers are encouraged to pay above the standard plan to expedite repayment of past due balances.
Additional utility payment assistance is also available through a partnership program with Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry. For more information about this program and eligibility requirements, please call (828) 327-0979.
Library To-Go pickup service and limited computer lab access continue to be available at the Ridgeview Branch Library and the Patrick Beaver Memorial Library. The Ridgeview Branch Library will soon undergo a renovation and expansion. When construction is slated to begin, library operations for the Ridgeview Branch will move to the neighboring Ridgeview Recreation Center.
Boards and Commissions Meetings
With the exception of City boards bound by certain statutory requirements, boards and commissions meetings remain suspended until further notice. City meetings are posted on the city calendar at https://www.hickorync.gov/calendar/events/category/city-meetings/.
Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism
Hickory parks are open daily, with public playgrounds and splash pads remaining closed during North Carolina’s Phase 2. Reservations for picnic shelters at City parks remain suspended; however, picnic shelters are open and available for use on a first come, first served basis.
At this time, the following centers remain closed to the public: Highland Recreation Center, Westmont Gymnasium and Senior Center, Neill Clark Main Building and Gymnasium, Ridgeview Recreation Center, and Brown Penn Recreation Center and Senior Center.
As the City values recreational opportunities for area youth, the City plans to reopen Highland Recreation Center and Brown Penn Recreation Center with limited access for only K-12 children this fall, in conjunction with the reopening of in-person instruction at Hickory Public Schools and Catawba County Schools. Under Phase 2, fitness centers continue to remain closed to the public. Organized fitness programs by certified instructors continue to be offered in accordance with current guidelines.
Spring athletic programs were suspended in March, due to the pandemic. With the continued threat of COVID-19, summer athletic programs were also not able to be offered through Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism.
Additionally, registration for fall sports, which is typically held in July, has been postponed in the interest of public safety. This includes registration for fall baseball, football, and soccer. As the pandemic continues to evolve, City officials will monitor the spread of COVID-19 within the community and coordinate athletic programming decisions with those of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
When conditions permit, the City looks forward to resuming athletic programs for youth and adults through the Hickory Parks, Recreation & Sports Tourism Department.
Travel sports leagues, which are not associated with the City, may contact City staff to utilize City properties and must adhere to the Governor’s executive orders.
As the City continues to prioritize safety in all programs, services, and facilities, Hickory residents are encouraged to remember the three Ws – WEAR a cloth face covering when in public, WAIT 6 feet apart from others, and WASH hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.
For a comprehensive listing of City of Hickory operational changes and updates regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), please visit the City’s COVID-19 Updates webpage.