Q&AZ: When Will Tempe Playgrounds Reopen?

By Rocio Hernandez
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 2:34pm
Updated: Monday, July 20, 2020 - 2:55pm

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Q&AZ is supported in part by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company

Tempe park
Chad Snow/KJZZ
The slide at Corbell Park in Tempe is seen closed on April 8, 2020, due to coronavirus.

Arizona cities like Tempe shut down some park amenities in March when the coronavirus pandemic hit to mitigate the spread of the virus. With the state reopening, some of those park amenities are being reopened. 

One listener asked Q&AZ when will Tempe playgrounds be reopened? The short answer: That's still to be determined. 

The city did reopen some amenities like tennis courts, skate parks and disc golf areas earlier this month, but other amenities like playgrounds, volleyball courts and dog parks remain closed.

Craig Hayton, the deputy community service director with Tempe's parks and recreation department, said reopening playgrounds is more challenging than other amenities because they have multiple touch points and it’s hard to distance users. 

“We know kids are playing with things one minute and their hands are in their mouths and certainly that can be a challenge. So we want to make sure that we can limit the potential spread mostly through inherently providing distancing within the amenities," Hayton said. 

He said it's also tough to gauge gathering sizes within playgrounds, especially at Tempe regional parks where as playgrounds see as many as 300 kids on busy weekends. 

Hayton said the city is taking a phased approach in reopening other park amenities but currently has no target date for when Tempe kids will be able to swing and slide again.