Maple Grove Uses “Park Ambassadors” to Help Social Distance
Maple Grove parks are open but social distancing is encouraged because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city welcomes visitors as long as they adhere to the recommend guidelines.
“What you can do is be in the park,” said Chuck Stifter, Maple Grove’s parks and recreation director. “We are encouraging people for their health and wellness, and physical well-being to be out in our park system. So parks are open but there are strict guidelines we are following provided by the CDC. Six-foot distancing of course, congregations should be kept to a minimum and really focused on family recreation.”
The crown jewel of Maple Grove’s system is Central Park, a go-to destination for many. The playground is a magnet for kids, but the city says visitors are responsible for cleaning areas they use.
“Sanitize,” Stifter said. “Bring your own sanitizer. We aren’t sanitizing play equipment, we aren’t sanitizing anything you can touch in the park system. But we do want people to get out and stay healthy.”
Maple Grove Adds Park Ambassadors
Maple Grove is adding park ambassadors to monitor outdoor spots and other areas such as the Fernbrook Fields, which attracts a lot of football, lacrosse and soccer players.
“We’ve incorporated into our operation a pool of our staff that are out engaging the public,” Stifter said. “Educating, informing folks about the best way to use the park system. If they are getting too close and violating the rules if you will, we just are encouraging them to separate. Choose a game that doesn’t allow them to be in close proximity to each other. They’re really focusing on Central Park, Fernbrook Fields, a couple of our high-use facilities and then the rest of the parks as needed.”
Splash Pad to Remain Closed
When the weather heats up, Central Park’s splash pad gets plenty of use. But that won’t be the case during the pandemic.
“We don’t anticipate the splash pad opening anytime soon,” Stifter said. “It’s just too difficult to manage with the current guidelines that we are trying to implement and maintain. We don’t foresee that in the near future.”
Central Park opened in 2015 and has garnered national publicity because of its cutting edge design and popularity.
“It really has,” Stifter said. “We’ve been very lucky to have a council and a board that has supported this facility and was able to invest in a facility like this and it’s really drawn a lot of attention and crowds and we absolutely love it. We are always welcoming folks to come and visit who are interested in building something like this in their community.”