The Benton Parks and Recreation Department has announced its first round of openings after being shutdown due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

During Monday night’s meeting of the Benton City Council, Mayor Tom Farmer announced that facilities would begin to reopen in light of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s statement that larger venues can be opened with restrictions.

“There will still be a few that will not be open,” Farmer said. “The parks committee will have jurisdiction if someone is not following the CDC guidelines and regulations set forth to not allow them to practice or participate on our fields at that time.”

A number of facilities at Tyndall Park will reopen May 8 including the junior disc golf course, tennis courts and the skate park.

The pavilions will open on May 11 and the basketball courts will open June 1.

Both the playground and the Gene Moss Building will remain closed.

The Bernard Holland Park youth and adult fields will open May 8 as will the multipurpose field at CW Lewis Stadium.

The Ralph Bunche Park pavilions will open May 11 and the basketball courts will open June 1. As with Tyndall Park, the Ralph Bunche Park playgrounds will remain closed.

Riverside Park will open the youth softball and soccer complexes on May 8 along with the sand volleyball courts. The dog park will remain closed.

The River Center will reopen June 1.

The regular market season for the City of Benton Farmers Market will begin May 16 and will only be open Saturdays.

The parks department stated that if patrons do not follow proper social distancing guidelines, the facilities will again be closed to the public. The parks department also maintains the right to refuse groups from facility use if they are not following guidelines. Reservations will take priority over drop-ins.

In addition to the playgrounds remaining closed, all public restroom facilities will also remain closed.

Youth leagues returning to practice will be limited to one team at a facility at a time and the teams will be responsible for all sanitation and trash pickup before leaving a facility.

Due to limited staffing, areas in all open facilities cannot be regularly sanitized.

Dates are subject to change based on recommendations and guidelines set forth by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Arkansas Department of Health.

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