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Waco looking to open some park amenities by Monday

Posted at 10:31 AM, May 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 11:31:01-04

WACO, TX — As Texas takes another step toward reopening it's economy, cities are deciding how to handle parks.

In Waco, some closed park amenities will soon re-open as cities look at what they can do, safely.

As the COVID-19 pandemic locked a lot of us in our homes, area parks, most of which never closed, became our only means of escape.

What can we expect at those parks now?

Meredith Sappington ventured out of her home for the first time in a while on Thursday.

Her first stop? Cameron Park.

”I love it. It's nice. I've got three dogs so it's nice to be able to come out here and let their energy out, they've been cooped up," she said.

On Monday in Waco, people can do more in city parks than just walk, bike or run.

”We are looking, on Monday we will have certain park amenities such as Cottonwood Creek Golf Course, our disc golf courses, and tennis courts back open and that really falls in line with the ability to have outdoor sports,” said Waco Parks & Recreation Director Jonathan Cook.

Waco will allow non-contact sports, limited to 4 people.

This comes as shelter-in-place orders expire, giving people from the Heart of Texas to the Brazos Valley more opportunity to get outdoors.

”It feels great, actually. As long as people can stay 6 feet apart and wear their masks,” said Susan Davis of Bryan.

But some park amenities will stay out of reach for now because of their potential to help the virus spread.

Many have physical barriers up, while Belton's Heritage Park only has a warning posted on a sign.

”These park amenities such as playgrounds, high-touch areas, they are still off-limits to the public. We have signage throughout our park system reminding people of that,” Cook said.

Cook has already begun making plans to re-open those park amenities, as conditions allow.

”I'm hoping moving forward we'll still have some parts of the park that are still open and be able to get out of the house,” said Sappington.

City leaders remind us that the governors plan calls for a phased in approach. We don’t proceed to phase two unless we keep the coronavirus at bay through stage one.

They say continued staying in, social distancing, and cleanliness guidelines will help insure we see more amenities open up.