Parks and Recreation keeping parks open but playground equipment, play structures off limits

Once again, officials emphasize need for social distancing

The New Hampton Parks and Recreation Department announced Thursday morning that it was closing all playground equipment and play structures in its parks, effectively immediately, because of concerns about the Coronavirus COVID-19.

The department’s program manager, Tara Hackman, said part of the issue is the fact that families weren’t “social distancing” at the playgrounds and the other issue is that the Parks Department simply doesn’t have the manpower to sanitize playgrounds and play structures in the city’s six parks.

“From what I’ve seen driving through the parks, they’re just not practicing social distancing at all in the playgrounds,” Hackman said. “I don’t think it’s something we wanted to necessarily do but something we had to do.”

New Hampton’s six parks — Mikkelson, Garnet, Runion, Randall, Sheakley and Stolz — and its trails will remain open for now.

“It’s the last thing we want to do, to have to close the parks,” Parks and Recreation Director Rick Kramer said. “We are strongly, strongly encouraging social distancing. We know how important it is for people to get outside, get fresh air and exercise, and we want to keep our parks open.”

New Hampton Tribune

10 North Chestnut Ave
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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