RANTOUL — Youth league baseball and softball won’t be played in Rantoul this summer — at least the start of the season.

Recreation Director Luke Humphrey said for now it doesn’t look like the sports will be offered, another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic. If things change dramatically, the end of the season could still be held. Those who have signed up for the program will be getting a refund.

The fee was $35 per player. The department will send back a total of $4,275 to would-be players.

“We felt the best thing to do was to get the money back in the hands of those folks who had registered,” Humphrey said. “What little league looks like moving ahead this season is different than we have every year.”

He said rec department officials will continue “the planning and scenarios” as they change and the situation dictates. In other words, if restrictions are lifted, part of the season could still be held.

“Staff is throwing out scenarios, from offering it as we have in the past in original fashion to a sandlot league,” he said.

The youth league program ranges in age all the way from t-ball camp to games for older players and helping to support American Legion ball.

Practice was to begin the second week of April and games begin May 11, finishing by July 4.

The rec department is also refunding the fees for five people who signed up for a baton twirling class.

Humphrey said no decision has been made on whether Hap Parker Family Aquatic Center will be opened on time.

“We are planning for all scenarios,” he said. “I guess I would tell people to be patient. I think with the governor’s announcement earlier this week about the phased-in reopening (of the state), it gives us a little ray of hope. Not much. The timeline was very unclear in those phases.”

Youth center meals to start early

The youth center will continue to serve hot meals to youth who signed up, but the program will start a couple of weeks earlier than normal .

The drive-thru/walk-up program began Monday and will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for lunch only each week day. Meanwhile, the Rantoul City Schools meal program, which includes breakfast and lunch for the entire week, continued Monday and will also be held May 18.

“It will be hot food,” youth center Director Andy Graham said. “We will only put out a weekly menu and see what the response is. We will do simple stuff the first week to make sure the kinks are worked out.”

The menus will be posted at myrantoul.com every Friday for the following week.

As of last Thursday, there had been 47 reservations turned in for meals. To register, go to www.myrantoul.com/lunch and fill out a form or call 217-893-5775 and leave a message with name, number of meals and the time and days you will be coming to pick up.

Graham said the youth center generally serves 75 to 100 people a day during a normal summer, but that is when programs are also going on at the center.

“But we have babysitters included in that,” he said. “We usually have a 20-person day camp and then whatever we have at our youth center, either 30 to 40 kids.”

The meals will be for children ages 2-18 living within the Rantoul City Schools and Rantoul Township High School districts.