East Lansing Parks & Rec Is Keeping the Playgrounds and Dog Park Closed

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Gary Caldwell for ELi

Playgrounds will stay closed until at least July 13, and the dog park will stay closed until at least August 3.

UPDATE: A day after this was published, the Parks & Rec Director changed his mind. Read the update.

As East Lansing slowly reopens in stages following the state of emergency lock-down, and the summer weather wills us out of doors, some East Lansing residents are wondering when playground equipment and Northern Tail Dog Park will officially open.

The answer is not for a while.

“At this time, our playgrounds are closed until at least July 13th and the Northern Tail Dog Park is closed until at least August 3rd,” says Tim McCaffrey, Director of East Lansing Parks, Recreation, & Arts. “As we progress further through the re-opening phases, we will continue to evaluate these dates.”

As ELi previously reported, the Aquatic Center will be closed for the entire season.

On March 10, Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the State of Michigan to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Then on March 13, Mayor Ruth Beier declared a local state of emergency in the City of East Lansing, closing all public facilities in accordance with state guidelines.

While trails remained open for socially distant exercise, park playground structures were closed in order to limit spread of the disease.

In March, the Northern Tail dog park was still closed for the winter season. The City closes the park to try to prevent the grassy areas from turning to dirt and mud. The dog park normally opens in early April (depending on grounds conditions).

But today, like the playgrounds, the City’s only dog park remains closed due to the executive order.

To make this decision, McCaffrey indicated that he and his staff interpret CDC Guidelines, State of Michigan Governor’s Executive Orders, Ingham County Health Department Executive Orders, data from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), data from Michigan Recreation and Park Association (MRPA), “and we evaluate our ability to adhere to the requirements as set out in the Executive Orders, guidelines and other data based on staffing capabilities and budget considerations.”

Meanwhile, the farmers market has reopened, and on Monday, June 15, East Lansing’s 54B District Court will reopen.

See ELi’s complete COVID-19 reporting here.

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