Dubuque to Open Some Recreational Amenities at City Parks
Playgrounds, Restrooms, Pavilions and Swimming Pools Remain Closed
Marie Ware, Leisure Services Manager
June 2, 2020 -- For Immediate Release
DUBUQUE, Iowa – Effective Wednesday, June 3, with capacity restrictions and other rules in place, the City of Dubuque will open some recreational amenities and facilities at parks managed by the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department.
The decision follows guidelines in the latest proclamation from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and was based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Iowa Department of Public Heath (IDPH), the City of Dubuque Health Services Department and Leisure Services Department.
“Our parks, green spaces, and recreation spaces matter now more than ever,” said Leisure Services Manager Marie Ware. “Our decisions have been guided by state and national public health guidelines and best practices and will continue to be, but we need our residents to practice personal responsibility for this to work. We must work together and follow the rules to keep these spaces open.”
Residents are urged to practice social distancing of 6-10 feet from others who are not part of their household and are encouraged to wear a mask when social distancing is not possible. Additionally, frequent handwashing is important and other personal hygiene practices, like covering coughs and sneezes as well as staying home and self-isolating when sick.
In an effort to prevent spread of the virus, water fountains will remain closed until further notice. Residents who visit the parks are encouraged to plan ahead for their needs to use the park and amenities in a safe manner. Ware said this will require some preparation and could include:
- bringing your own reusable water bottle, hand sanitizer and/or sanitizing wipes;
- bringing a table cover if you plan to use a picnic table;
- bringing a mask in case you cannot social distance;
- going to the restroom before leaving your home;
- if an area is very busy or those present are not practicing social distancing, changing your plans or choosing another location;
- not going out if you are sick or have any symptoms of COVID-19.
“As public health officials have stated, the virus is present in our community and will be for the foreseeable future,” added Ware. “That means we must all be vigilant, change our behaviors, and work together so we can still enjoy our parks and recreation areas.”
In addition to the health considerations, decisions also had to be made regarding the budget available for maintenance of park service areas. Due to the City’s current hiring freeze, the parks division was unable to hire the 24 seasonal laborers who perform park maintenance work 40 hours per week from mid-April through mid-October.
“Just as many of our citizens are making very difficult financial decisions based upon their budget, we had to do the same thing,” said Ware. “We have worked to try to balance our city-wide and leisure services essential services and the need for people to get outside with the funds available. We hope as we learn more details and as new revenue estimates come in that we can restore some of the services that we all value as a part of our park system.” Pet Park
Dubuque’s pet park on North Grandview Avenue will open on June 3 with social distancing guidelines. The park’s portable restroom has been removed as a budget-reduction measure. Skate Parks Limited to 50% Capacity
The skate parks/amenities at Flora Park, McAleece Recreational Area, and Comiskey Park will open on June 3 but will be limited to 50% capacity, which equals fifty 50 persons at any one time using the Flora Skate Park, 30 at the McAleece Skate Park, and three at the Comiskey Skate Spot. No picnic tables will be in the areas to reduce social distancing concerns. Park Picnic Tables
Many of the picnic tables have not been placed in parks throughout the city after their winter repairs. In the coming week or two, picnic tables will be placed throughout the park system. Individuals need to bring covers or materials to clean tables prior to use. Park Restrooms
Park restrooms will remain closed. The requirement is that they be sanitized once daily. The current full-time staff only have enough hours available to mow, remove garbage, and perform basic repairs and maintenance of all the parks and public spaces maintained by the department. Seasonal staff are not being hired for the park division due to budget cuts. Outdoor Playgrounds
The City of Dubuque’s outdoor playgrounds will remain closed at this time. Due to playgrounds being high-touch surfaces, the requirement is that they must be sanitized once daily. The costs of sanitizing are being determined at this time. Tennis, Pickleball and Horseshoe Courts
The City’s tennis and pickleball courts will be available for public use after the nets are reinstalled and court gates unlocked the morning of Wednesday, June 3. Horseshoe pits at Eagle Point Park and Flora Park will also be available for use. Basketball and Volleyball Courts
Governor Reynolds’ proclamation still prohibits these non-school sporting or recreational activities. City courts will remain closed with hoops and nets down to prohibit the activity per the proclamation. Swimming Pools
The governor’s proclamation includes allowance of ONLY lap swimming and swim lessons including lifeguard training through June 17, 2020. The opening of the swimming pools continues to be evaluated. Miller Riverview Campground Restroom/Shower House
The Miller Riverview Campground restroom/shower house is expected to be opened by Friday, June 5. Camping in the primitive tent camping non-electric sites may begin June 5 with the opening of the restroom/shower house. The campground restriction of no visitors to the campsites is still in place. The portable restrooms have been removed as a budget-reduction measure. Town Clock Plaza
To encourage social distancing, approximately half of the tables, chairs, and benches normally placed along Main Street and in the Town Clock Plaza will be placed in the coming week or two. Park Pavilion Rentals
Park pavilions will remain closed through July 6. Refunds will be issued or rescheduling will be completed for booked pavilions during that timeframe. Opening and rental of pavilions will be reconsidered in the coming weeks. Eagle Point Toll Booth
Free admission to Eagle Point Park will continue until at least June 15. Flowers in Parks and Public Spaces
The parks division is currently planting flowers and hanging baskets in areas that are irrigated and do not require manual watering. As a budget-reduction measure, no other flowers will be planted or baskets hung in the remainder of the locations throughout the city.
For more information, call the City of Dubuque Leisure Services Department at 563.589.4263 or visit www.cityofdubuque.org/leisureservices
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