The Parks and Rec Disaster


Design By: Joycee Redman

Maggie O'Connor, Staff Reporter

While everyone is cooped up inside, it is nice to have some decent weather. The recent days of 65 degrees and sunshine have made plenty of people want to head outside and enjoy the great outdoors. While a backyard or a driveway can be fun, any neighborhood park would ordinarily be a go-to location for some outdoor fun. But Columbus’ Parks and Recreation Department has decided that the parks must remain closed until further notice. 

The Harrison Ridge Park in Tipton Lakes is a great example of why the parks should not be closed. The park consists of brand new equipment, two tennis courts, a basketball court, and plenty of open space for soccer or playing with dogs. As of April 1, the park has caution tape around the playground, the tennis courts have been locked up and the basketball hoops are nowhere to be found. While roping off the swingset may be understandable, since they are not six feet apart, taking away the basketball hoops and blocking off the tennis courts is absurd. It seems that the Parks and Rec Department did not take into consideration that families may want to take their children out to get some exercise, and people can easily remain six feet apart on a tennis court. 

These closings are not unique to Harrison Ridge. Almost every city-owned park in Columbus is following suit. Even the People Trail by State Road 46 has been closed until further notice, which is one of the most popular trails in Columbus. The Parks and Rec Department may have concerns about our safety, but closing the parks puts even more people in danger. Without a way to get exercise, people’s mental and physical health will decline. Understandably, Parks and Rec want to protect people, but they cannot protect everyone. Trusting that people will make good choices and follow the basic guidelines set by the federal government is a critical part of democracy, and closing the parks completely goes against that trust. 

Most of the park’s amenities like basketball hoops and soccer goals are said to be returning on May 1. Depending on the directions set in place by the state government, we will see if they actually do come back on that date. Until the parks reopen, take advantage of walking trails, ride a bike, or even just sit outside for a while. Fresh air and sunshine can improve your mood and mental health, which is extremely important in times like these.