As social distancing guidelines relax across the Johnson County area, some parks have started reopening to the public.
Here is a summary of when parks in northern Johnson County began reopening and what precautions they plan to take to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
JOHNSON COUNTY PARKS AND RECREATION
The Johnson County Parks and Recreation District closed playgrounds to the public, but other parks like the trails and some greenspaces never closed for the pandemic.
“In fact we witnessed near record numbers of people in the parks,” marketing and communications manager for JCPRD Richard Smalley said.
Playgrounds started opening on June 8, and signage around the facilities promote social distancing and good hand hygiene. Additionally, park restrooms will be cleaned regularly. Some outdoor courts for low contact sports are also available, but basketball courts will remain closed.
For a full list of the guidelines in JCPRD facilities and spaces, visit their Plan to Reopen page.
Overland Park closed their playgrounds in mid-March because of the pandemic, but reopened those spaces on June 8.
Interim director of parks and recreation for Overland Park said park restrooms and playgrounds will be cleaned weekly.
For a list of affected facilities, view the complete list of recreational spaces maintained by the city on the parks website.
Playgrounds run by Lenexa reopened on June 8. Director of communications for Lenexa Denise Rendina said social distancing is encouraged, and no more than 45 people should be using the equipment at one time. Signs in park spaces will notify the public of the maximum number of people allowed in that area.
Rendina said parks will be monitored daily and may be cleaned as needed, but playgrounds are not disinfected. Restrooms in parks are cleaned every evening and every morning. Drinking fountains will not be turned on.
“We are following all county, state and CDC guidelines, and are either meeting or exceeding the standards,” Rendina said.
More specific rules and procedures can be found on the Parks and Recreation Reopening Plans page.
Playgrounds in Shawnee reopened on June 8. The parks and recreation department encourages consistent handwashing with soap and water or hand sanitizer. Also, a newsletter from the city emphasizes the importance of physical distancing.
Ashley Freburg, public information officer for the city of Prairie Village, said playgrounds, basketball courts and tennis courts were closed, but all are open to the public now. Additionally, water fountains have been turned on.
Equipment will not be sanitized, but restrooms will be cleaned as usual. Signs are posted throughout parks advising people to wash their hands and maintain social distancing.
Playgrounds aren’t open yet, Leslie Herring, Westwood city clerk and chief administrative officer, said. All park amenities — including playgrounds and tennis courts — are expected to reopen by July 15.
When the time comes, city employees will wash “high-touch park surfaces” regularly, Herring said. Additionally, signs may be posted throughout parks to remind residents to maintain social distance and practice good hand hygiene before and after using shared spaces.
For a list of cancellations of parks department programs and the specifics about the reopening plan, view the COVID-19 Reopening Plan.
Tony Nichols, superintendent of parks and recreation for Roeland Park, said though trails and other spaces remained open throughout the peak of the pandemic, playgrounds were closed until June 8.
Signs will be posted near playgrounds that remind the public to physically distance and practice good hand hygiene. Park equipment will not be sanitized, but park restrooms are cleaned daily.
Playgrounds in Merriam reopened on June 8. Signs will be posted throughout shared spaces to promote social distancing and frequent handwashing, but playground equipment won’t be cleaned.
“We have no cleaning regimen planned for the playgrounds due to the number of touch points and manpower required to clean the equipment,” Jenna Gant, communications and public engagement manager, said.
Though parks never closed, playgrounds and park restrooms aren’t expected to open until July 6, director of parks and recreation Penn Almoney said. When the facilities do eventually reopen, Almoney said the department will enhance the sanitizing procedures for playground equipment and restrooms.
Youth sports and facilities rentals should also be available again, but with precautions in place like staggered start times and limits to gathering sizes.
Park shelters, playgrounds and tennis courts in Fairway are expected to reopen “within the week,” director of parks and recreation Brice Soeken said.
Standard cleaning procedures will not change, but the department plans to post signage around shared facilities that advise good hygiene and social distancing on the equipment as a way to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Per the city of Leawood COVID-19 response hub last updated on June 4, some facilities and spaces maintained by the Leawood Department of Parks and Recreation remained open.
Tennis, pickleball, volleyball and basketball courts are still closed, but dog parks, trails and greenspaces are open. Youth sports leagues and cabin rentals were also suspended. Park buildings and restrooms are closed.