Dallas closes dog parks; trails, parks remain open with access limited to turf areas

DividerPress Release

March 24, 2020

Contact: Andrea Hawkins / (817) 994-2498) / andrea.hawkins@dallascityhall.com

Dallas closes dog parks, remaining recreational amenities; trails, parks remain open with public access limited to park turf and grassy greenspaces

(DALLAS) - Continuing the need to maintain social distancing, Dallas Park and Recreation Department announced it will close city dog parks and all park recreational amenities. These closures include water fountains, restrooms, open-play tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts and soccer mini-pitch courts and all other amenities located within city parks.

Trails and parks will remain open, officials said. However, only the non-restricted turf areas and greenspaces in parks will be available to visitors.

Park officials said they are urging residents to stay home, although they recognize the mental and physical benefits of outdoor exercise and fresh air. While at the parks, they are urging residents to practice social distancing of at least six feet. Park Rangers will monitor parks and trails to ensure visitors comply with the social distancing requirement. 

Earlier this month, the department closed city-operated recreation centers, golf courses, tennis centers, athletic fields and park playgrounds and cancelled scheduled activities and special events. Department organized programs including athletic fields reservations and organized play were suspended.

"Unfortunately, we cannot allow the risk of further transmission from normal play occurring at tennis courts, soccer fields, basketball courts within our parks. These recreational activities allow for individuals to gather and involve close contact and touching of a surface that may be a source of contamination," said John D. Jenkins, Park and Recreation Interim Director. "This is the last measure we can take to implement additional social distancing requirements," he said.

Residents who don't want to leave home can still enjoy recreation and leisure activities. The department is bringing Rec@Home  to families online. Each week, recreation experts lead a leisure activity that families can enjoy including fitness for families, kid's crafts and healthy snacks. Rec@Home  is available at DallasParks.org.

Park Department Update

Dallas Park and Recreation Department announced that park maintenance employees will begin draining all display fountains on park properties and at Dallas City Hall Plaza. Park officials said taking these actions are a health and safety precaution because of the Shelter-in-Place order issued, which will impact some park maintenance operations.

Park officials said draining the fountains now will give maintenance crews an opportunity to inspect for structural issues and make needed repairs. When not carefully maintained, fountains create the perfect breeding habitat for algae, mosquitos and other pests.

The City of Dallas and Dallas Park and Recreation is providing CORVID-19 updates on their websites DallasCityHall.com and  DallasParks.org and social media sites.