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Indy Parks announces new restrictions, closes dog parks until further notice to combat COVID-19

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Posted at 11:12 AM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 11:12:39-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Indy Parks is putting new restrictions into play to combat the overcrowding at city parks and help slow the spread of COVID-19, that includes closing all four dog parks until further notice.

According to Indy Parks, between 3,000 and 5,000 people visited Eagle Creek Park last weekend.

"As residents look for ways to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors, Indy Parks is reminding everyone to follow social distancing and CDC recommended guidelines while avoiding crowded spaces," Indy Parks said in a statement. "During this time, families are encouraged to visit their neighborhood parks and greenspaces."

In response to the overwhelming traffic, Eagle Creek Park will begin restricting vehicle access to decrease crowds and excessive traffic through the park.

“This is a challenging time for all of us, and we know that many people are coming to parks for recreation, fitness, and really to just have a sense of normalcy and relaxation,” said Linda Broadfoot, director of Indy Parks. “For now, we cannot continue to gather in crowds and participate in activities as we did before. Together, we can temporarily restrict access to some of our favorite spaces to limit the spread the coronavirus in parks, on trails, and in our communities.”

The New park restrictions and closures go into effect on Saturday, April 18 and include:

  • Eagle Creek Park will prohibit vehicles. The park will be open to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to barricades and closed signage, the park’s entrance gates will be locked at 56th and 71st Streets, Scott Starling, Eagle’s Crest, and the Bear Overlook.
  • Broad Ripple Bark Park, Gordon Gilmer Canine Companion Zone (Eagle Creek Park), Paul Ruster Dog Park, and Smock Dog Park will be temporarily closed.

Indy Parks has already closed all family centers, playgrounds, basketball courts, golf courses, indoor facilities, shelters, and tennis courts.

Outdoor spaces and trails are still available for visitors, but Indy Parks asks all Hoosiers to practice social distancing when using them. They will also continue their free meals programs, which has already served more than 20,000 meals since March. The meal program is available for Hoosiers and their families on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at designated parks and other locations around the city.

Below are the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) tips for Social Distancing in Public Parks and Trails:

  • Observe the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other persons at all times.
  • Do not use parks or trails if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if you are sick.
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting parks and trails.
  • Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass.
  • Be prepared for limited or no access to public restrooms or water fountains.
  • Do not participate in group or team activities.
  • Do not use closed park amenities.