ELC

Public playgrounds in Savage reopened on May 19. Rental facilities, such as the Environmental Learning Center, remain closed until June 30.

City playgrounds in Savage reopened Tuesday after the City Council approved measures to lift some of the COVID-19 restrictions throughout the city.

The Council voted unanimously to approve a recommendation from city staff to reopen playgrounds and allow organized play from sports associations on the city’s athletic fields.

“I believe it’s a personal responsibility on their part, and that’s what we are turning over to them,” Mayor Janet Williams said.

City staff won’t be routinely sanitizing the playground equipment, and new playground signs will caution residents about the potential risks. Coronavirus often spreads through the air by coughing and talking but can also linger on surfaces, according to state and federal health officials.

“I am thrilled to death,” Councilmember Christine Kelly said. “I want them open.”

Sports associations will be allowed to reserve and use the athletic fields after submitting a plan for their use.

“We think it’s a good idea to allow them to be creative and come up with these plans,” City Administrator Brad Larson said.

Residents are also allowed to use the fields as long as they follow state guidance. Groups larger than 10 or residents not practicing social distancing, could get a visit from the city’s park ambassadors, who aim to uphold safety guidelines in the city’s parks.

“It will look different, but it will allow them to get out there and play on those fields,” Larson said.

City offices also reopened to the public this week, but the city’s rental facilities remain will closed through June 30.

While buildings such as City Hall and the Police Department are open, the city still encourages residents to do their business via phone or email when possible.

Local emergency extended through

June 15During the May 18 meeting, the Council also voted unanimously to extend the local state of emergency through June 15.

Williams declared an emergency for the city on March 16, and the council has extended it since.

Larson said the extension helps city staff deal with an emergency if new COVID-19 circumstances require a quick response. The extension doesn’t prevent the city from beginning to resume normal actives, Kelly said.

The council plans to resume in-person meetings, for example, on June 1.

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