Dog park closures, new restrictions announced by Indy Parks

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File photo of Eagle Creek Park.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indy Parks and Recreation announced new restrictions Friday, including the closure of its four dog parks in response to overcrowding.

Indy Parks said the new modifications to its services is to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

The department announced the closing its four dog parks until further notice and Eagle Creek Park will begin restricting vehicle access on Saturday, April 18 to decrease crowds and excessive traffic throughout the park.

According to Indy Parks, around 3,000-5,000 people visited Eagle Creek Park in past week alone.

“This is a challenging time for all of us, and we know that many people are coming to parks for recreation, fitness, and really to just have a sense of normalcy and relaxation,” said Linda Broadfoot, director of Indy Parks.

The department said families are still encouraged to visit their neighborhood parks and greenspaces, but Hoosiers are reminded to follow social distancing and CDC recommended guidelines while looking for ways to stay fit and enjoy the outdoors.

Broadfoot added, “For now, we cannot continue to gather in crowds and participate in activities as we did before. Together, we can temporarily restrict access to some of our favorite spaces to limit the spread the coronavirus in parks, on trails, and in our communities.”

These new park restrictions and closures go into effect on Saturday:

  • Eagle Creek Park will prohibit vehicles. The park will be open to pedestrians and cyclists. In addition to barricades and closed signage, the park’s entrance gates will be locked at 56th and 71st Streets, Scott Starling, Eagle’s Crest, and the Bear Overlook.
  • Broad Ripple Bark Park, Gordon Gilmer Canine Companion Zone (Eagle Creek Park), Paul Ruster Dog Park, and Smock Dog Park will be temporarily closed. 

Indy Parks previously announced the closure of all family centers, playgrounds, basketball courts, golf courses, indoor facilities, shelters, and tennis courts. To protect the health and safety of park users, closed and restricted amenities should not be used until further notice. Additional restrictions may be enforced as staff continue to monitor park spaces.

Currently, outdoor spaces and trails (except for the closed spaces) are still available for visitors to enjoy, but Indy Parks is asking residents to follow social distancing.

The free meals programs, which has served more than 20,000 meals in March and early April, will continue. Indy Parks said the program is available for residents and their families on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at designated parks and other locations around the city. 

To learn more about Indy Parks, its free meal options, and available amenities, contact the Customer Service Center at 317-327-PARK or send an email to IndyParksCS@indy.gov.

The National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) has put together useful tips for Social Distancing in Public Parks and Trails:

  • Observe the CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from other persons at all times.
  • Do not use parks or trails if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or if you are sick.
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance on personal hygiene prior to visiting parks and trails.
  • Share the trail and warn other trail users of your presence and as you pass.
  • Be prepared for limited or no access to public restrooms or water fountains.
  • Do not participate in group or team activities.
  • Do not use closed park amenities.

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