Seeing children jumping off inflatable play structures and splashing into the water might not be common this summer at Stoughton’s Mandt Park.
The coronavirus pandemic is jeopardizing the scheduled June 13 opening of Troll Beach.
Stoughton parks and recreation director Dan Glynn told the Hub the city might need to close or delay the opening, depending on the timing of the state’s Badger Bounce Back phasing plan to determine reopenings of businesses like restaurants and fitness centers.
“We have been exploring our options on how this would affect our operations,” he said.
Troll Beach would be allowed to open under the second phase of the plan, which would allow gatherings to 50 people or less, Glynn said.
The current limit is 10, but there are additional limitations for public places such as parks. Parks can remain open for exercise, but playground equipment, basketball courts and tennis courts remain closed under Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order, which was extended to May 26 but requires legislative approval after May 11.
Glynn said basketball rims at city parks have been boarded up and pickleball courts at Mandt Park are locked. Tennis nets have not been put out and restrooms are locked.
The rules for the community garden have been modified to ensure gardening is safe, including removing hoses, providing hand soap and posting social distancing signs, he said.
Glynn said there has been a coordinated effort between Public Health Madison-Dane County and area parks and recreation departments.
The Badger Bounce Back plan focuses on bringing back certain community aspects in phases. According to releases from Gov. Evers’ office, determining how quickly people can return to work could depend on increasing lab capacity and COVID-19 testing, increasing contact tracing, tracking the spread of the respiratory illness, increasing health care capacity and producing more protective equipment.
In phase 1, restaurants, day care centers, K-12 public and private schools could reopen with a limit on gatherings of 10 people or less. In Phase II, all nonessential businesses, colleges and universities could reopen with a limit on gatherings of 50.
Glynn said Public Health Madison-Dane County will set guidance on how area parks should be handled.
“If a situation arises where I feel there may be a need to close a park, I will defer to them for a recommendation,” he said. “Parks are an essential service to the public for physical and mental health, and any closure should be a last resort.”