Parks board urges caution with playground use

Brainerd's parks board members agreed at their meeting Tuesday, March 25, to put signs at the city playgrounds urging those who use the equipment to be cautious amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured is the playground equipment at Bane Park Wednesday, March 25, in Brainerd. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch

Brainerd city parks remain open for public use amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but parks board members urge caution when using certain amenities, like playground equipment.

Parks board members discussed the status of the parks during a meeting Tuesday, March 24, coming to the consensus it will be difficult to stop people from using the parks.

“We want to get people out in the community. We don’t want them to be locked in doors, but just let’s not use equipment that’s shared with everyone else,” board chair Kara Schaefer said via teleconference during Tuesday’s meeting.

Board members agreed to put up signs at city playgrounds with pandemic guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a message encouraging people to be cautious if using playground equipment.

Restrooms and pavilions at city parks will be closed until at least May 12. The city council agreed March 16 to cancel all special events for the following eight weeks — until May 12 — according to suggestions from the CDC. The campground at Lum Park will also remain closed until at least May 12. Reservations will still be accepted during this time for dates after May 12. While campers are often mostly confined to their recreational vehicles, board members agreed they did not want to encourage travelers to congregate in Brainerd during this pandemic.


Coronavirus announcements: What's open, what's closed and other info for the Brainerd Lakes Area

Cancellations and postponements

The following parks and recreation events are canceled: Easter egg hunt, Easter tennis ball hunt and Arbor Day. Staff is waiting to hear from Essentia Health on the status of the Lakes Area Bicycle Clinic scheduled for May 3.

Easter candy already donated by the Rotary Club will be handed out during the fishing clinic later this year.

The Early Bird Softball Tournament is canceled, and the adult softball league will be postponed until at least May 12. Teams will be refunded on a per-game basis if the season is shortened. Fields cannot be reserved for practice at this time.

The skills clinic and drafts for youth baseball and softball will be postponed until after May 12. Practices and games will be scheduled accordingly.

Online registration is still available for summer activities at .

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THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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