Local communities look at reopening parks after May 4

Liberty Parks and Recreation announced on its website that it will follow Clay County Public Health Center's plan to end stay-at-home order on May 4 and look to reopen public facilities like the tennis court pictured here.

Most parks and public facilities in the cities of Liberty, Kearney and Smithville have closed down due to COVID-19 concerns, but Clay County Public Health Center’s decision to roll back the end stay-at-home orders on May 4 has at least one parks and recreation department planning to reopen.

Liberty

Liberty Parks and Recreation announced on its website that it will follow CCPHC’s timeline and said it will release more information about its reopening plans.

Liberty had closed all city facilities to the public, a list that includes: playgrounds, restrooms, Bennett Park skatepark and the amenities at Stocksdale Park including the dog park, disc golf, walking and bike trails, horseshoe pits, cricket pitch and all of the city's basketball, pickleball, volleyball and tennis courts.

The parks department also closed or canceled all events through May 15, the previous date for the stay-at-home order in Clay County and throughout Missouri.

Kearney

Kearney Parks and Recreation has kept it facilities open except for playgrounds, shelters, pickleball courts and its skate park. Bathrooms are locked, but portable toilets are located near the wastewater treatment facility.

Eric Marshall, Kearney park director, said that his department has received very few complaints regarding individuals breaking social distancing guidelines at public facilities after closing down the skate park and pickleball courts near the end of March.

He said many people are using the trails in the parks and fishing at Jesse James Park without experiencing any problems regarding social distancing.

Smithville

Smithville Parks and Recreation closed all public facilities except for Heritage Park Trail and Lake Remote Trail as well as fishing at Helvey Park. Smith’s Fork Park had remained open until April 3 when the city locked the access gates and posted closed signs.

Matt Denton, Smithville Parks and Recreation director, said his department has not received complaints about people disobeying social distancing at any city parks as of April 15.

Playgrounds and public restrooms at city facilities remain closed.

Sports Writer Mac Moore can be reached at 389-6643 or mac.moore@mycouriertribune.com.

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