For city residents, access to local parks is more than a coronavirus-era luxury. It’s critical for physical, emotional and mental health. We checked in with both Bismarck and Mandan Parks to see how they’re doing during the pandemic.
“Every year we try to replace some of our older playgrounds in our system and we have two that are scheduled to be replaced in Sertoma,” said Randy Bina, Executive Director of Bismarck Parks and Rec District.
But with upgrades, more people will want to visit the parks. However, Bismarck is NOT currently allowing shelter rentals due to the CDC guidelines of gatherings of 10 people or less.
“We’re encouraging the public to recreate in a smart way, follow the CDC guidelines. Playgrounds have been one area that we have kept open. However, we want people to use caution,” said Bina.
He recommends you bring your own hand sanitizer or hand wipes to wipe down equipment and avoid larger groups. In Mandan, park employees are sanitizing twice a week.
“We spray our parks twice a week, Mondays and Thursdays. All of our maintenance staff go out to all of our parks throughout the 23 parks we have throughout the district,” said Cole Higlin, Mandan District Park District Director.
They clean the park benches, picnic tables, garbage cans and any areas people touch to make it as safe as possible. The Mandan Park District Director also suggests the community do their part by bringing extra cleaning supplies to the park when they visit.
“We’re having to make some arrangements and try to make sure to keep people safe No. 1 but at least give some normalcy back to the community,” said Higlin.
Both parks are working with the governor and awaiting recommendations on how to move forward.
As of now, April 30 is when the parks will find out if they can begin allowing gatherings of 50 people or less.