City reopens parks; schools to keep facilities closed

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Public Works Director Mark Bousellot is keeping all the barricades for the parks in city trucks.

After spending half the day Tuesday finishing closing all the parks to traffic following Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Monday presser, city crews are now going about reopening all the parks.

During Monday’s press conference, Reynolds increased closures around the state to include “skating rinks and parks, outdoor and indoor playgrounds or children play centers.” However, the written proclamation carried the verbage,”roller or ice skating rinks and skate parks” and did not mandate the closure of parks in general throughout the state.

Shortly after the press conference, Fort Madison City Clerk Melinda Blind sent out a release stating that all city parks were closed. Bousellot said the city is now in the process of taking down the barriers.

“It took us a significant amount of time and we just finished closing them to meet the desired need to enforce what we heard in the press conference,” he said Tuesday afternoon.

” Upon learning that the proclamation was different than what was stated in the conference we are now taking action to open it back up.”

He said walking trails will now be open including the trails at Rodeo Park, but residents will not have access to playgrounds or other facilities including drinking fountains and restrooms.

“Our goal today is get them all opened back up and then put some signage around the playgrounds to remind people to stay off during this time.”

Fort Madison High School Athletics Director Jeremy Swink said the district is going to keep its facilities locked up until further information is obtained. Upon hearing the city had closed all city parks Monday, FMCSD officials ordered the closing of all public athletic facilities including tennis courts and the high school track.

“We’ve been going with the same direction the city is going, but if this region is close to entering a shelter in place, it might not make sense to open everything back up just to run around and close it all down again,” he said.

Reynolds said Region 5, which is the southeast Iowa portion of the state, has a metric score of 9 and she said a score of 10 could prompt additional measures to further protect the well-being of Iowans. The 9 is the highest score in the state. Region 6, which includes Linn County where an outbreak has occurred at a long-term care facility is also at a 9.

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