This afternoon, Mayor Strickland announced tighter restrictions on park use to combat the spread of COVID-19. As of tomorrow morning at 8 AM, access roads to city parks will be closed to all but essential staff and emergency vehicles. Entrances and parking lots at Overton Park will be closed.
As of now, the park will still be accessible on foot or by bicycle, but Mayor Strickland emphasized that if social distancing guidelines are not followed more strictly, he may close parks entirely. City employees will be monitoring parks to prevent crowding, but with over 160 parks in the system, we want to make this job as easy on them as possible by maintaining strict social distancing.
Overton Park Conservancy continues to perform regular maintenance, including trash pickup, mowing, and repairs. However, we don’t have the authority or the capacity to monitor and enforce behavior throughout the park, which is why we’re using signage and social media to ask everyone to do their part. We ask that if you do choose to visit the park during this time, you help us keep our staff and your fellow visitors safe by following and sharing the guidelines below.
Many have asked us how they can help. The Conservancy relies on private donations for 85% of our budget, and we anticipate a lean year as our country faces a recession. Yet the park remains busy. Our team and contractors are still at work, and our forest research and management will continue. Please keep us in your plans for an annual gift, or consider a modest monthly gift to help us continue providing this amenity now and into the future.
We’ll be back later in the week with some #NatureZen. These are difficult times for all of us, and we appreciate every word of encouragement you’ve offered and action you’ve taken to keep our community safe.