Enterprise reopens parks and courts

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ENTERPRISE, Ala. (PR) -- If you enjoy playing tennis and pickleball, you can go ahead and hit the courts again in Enterprise.

Enterprise Parks and Recreation Directors Billy Powell said the facilities are open for play, after being closed for several weeks because of the COVID-19 health threat.

“We are really pleased to be able to get some of our recreation facilities open again so our citizens can enjoy them again,” Powell said after announcing the decision Friday. “Our desire is to see people having a good time at our facilities so we are happy to take this next step in the process of eventually opening all of our facilities.”

The William (Bill) Morris Tennis Complex is open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily at Donaldson Park. The Pickleball courts are located behind the Enterprise Recreation Center on Lee Street and are open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, and the Skate Park, located between Hollis Street and Airport Road at the Rec Center Complex.

“I know many people are ready to hit the courts again, but we need to keep in mind that safety is still of the utmost importance,” Powell said.

Almost all city facilities had to be shut down as a result of directives from the Centers for Disease Control and the Governor’s Office because it was deemed unsafe for people to be in close proximity of each other and for people to be sharing equipment and touching the same surfaces that were not cleaned after each use. Since early April, some of the state restrictions have been relaxed somewhat.

Powell has researched the safety factors involved in the use of recreational equipment and the practice of social distancing, and has designed a plan to reopen the tennis and pickleball courts safely as well as the skate park, if users will follow the guidelines.

The plan includes the 6-foot social distancing rule. Players must maintain social distancing whether engaged, waiting or observing play in and around the court areas. Players are encouraged to bring their own equipment and to keep it identified and sanitized. Errant balls will be returned to the owning player by kicking, rolling with the foot or by racket push. The wearing of face masks is also encouraged.

For full details on the safety rules, please go to the city Facebook page and/or the City of Enterprise website, www.enterpriseal.gov, and check the News and Alerts section or the Parks and Recreation page.

Currently, soccer fields, indoor and outdoor basketball courts, indoor and outdoor volleyball courts and playgrounds are still closed. Baseball and softball season play is still being evaluated, and decisions are still to be made regarding the youth summer camp, Powell said.

“I would love to open everything back up, but that wouldn’t be the prudent thing to do. We have to follow a process or have a template to go by,” he said. “We’re open for the pleasure of the community – to help them live a healthy lifestyle with exercise and physical activity, to help give them a better quality of life. We wouldn’t be fulfilling that mission if we didn’t consider how to best protect our citizens from the Coronavirus.”

Powell said the City and its Parks and Recreation Department have taken the virus threat seriously from the beginning, and will continue to monitor the federal and state guidelines and take action as the situation changes. Powell said the COVID-19 threat is a universal issue for Parks and Rec departments throughout the state and nation, and everyone is dealing with it as best they can with safety in mind. Extensive study, collaboration with other departments and other research gave Powell and Rec Department employees an opportunity to put together a plan they are comfortable with.

“We hope we can return to normal operation in the near future, but in the meantime, we ask everyone using the open facilities to be mindful of each other and respect each other’s right to protect themselves,” he said. “This is a troubling time and doing the right thing is not always easy or convenient, but I hope everyone will take the precaution seriously, follow the rules and enjoy being outdoors and active again.”

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