Lansing curtails summer programming amid pandemic

Most parks and recreation activities canceled or postponed

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This summer is going to look different across Greater Lansing.

Statewide restrictions on public and private gatherings, while recently relaxed, are still expected to lead to canceling or postponing city programs over the next few months. Accordingly, many facilities will be closed in Ingham, Clinton and Eaton counties.

As announced last week, social gatherings of 10 people or fewer are allowed as long as people keep a six-foot distance and wear face coverings while inside enclosed spaces.

That was welcomed news ahead of the summer months. But many restrictions remain. And they’ll have a major impact on summer in Greater Lansing.

Lansing

Lansing’s traditional Memorial Day ceremony at Evergreen Cemetery was canceled this year after a statewide executive order had banned groups of any size. City officials said no plans were rescheduled after the order was relaxed to allow groups of 10 people or less. Here is information on other events and activities.

Walking Wednesdays postponed.

The Concerts in the Park series is being re-evaluated based on the executive lockdown, which expires June 12 but could be extended. A concert is still scheduled for June 10, but that could change.

Mayor Andy Schor’s Family Riverwalk and Run, which was scheduled for June 13, will take place entirely online. Runners can sign up online to run or walk the virtual 5K anywhere at runsignup.com/MI/Lansing/MayorsRiverwalkRun.

The Fairy Tale Festival scheduled for June 20 and 21 at the Turner Dodge House — and all other programming there — has been canceled.

The 4th of July Parade, evening concert and fireworks at Riverfront Park are canceled.

Schor’s annual Senior Activities Fair scheduled for August is postponed.

Both Hunter and Moores Park pools will be closed. It’s possible that the pool at the Alfreda Schmidt Community Center will open for lap swimming, officials said, but all swim lessons are on hold.

City parks remain open, but all pavilion reservations are canceled until at least July 6.

The Lansing Parks and Recreation Department is looking at the feasibility of offering one summer camp with a number of restrictions based on required safety and health protocols, but those plans have not yet been put in place.

In-person summer tennis programs are on hold. Instead, virtual tennis and leadership programs, tutoring and life groups will be held. Details are posted at tmyl.org/summer-tennis.

Community centers will offer limited virtual classes and programming but will otherwise remain closed. Specific details about each facility and their summer offerings will be available at lansingmi.gov/parks.

Trails around Fenner Nature Center are open to the public, but all programming and indoor activities are on hold. The building was still closed this week.

Lansing’s Parks and Recreation Department, in lieu of in-person programming, has been hosting a variety of virtual activities live on its Facebook page — like a live Fortnite video gaming session for the public or a tutorial on how to repurpose old bandanas for your pets.

All 18 holes at Groesbeck Golf Course are open. The course — which charges daily fees — recommends that guests schedule tee times in advance. Call (517) 483-4333 for more details.

The Potter Park Zoo remains closed to guests for now.

East Lansing

East Lansing has moved its Summer Solstice Jazz Festival entirely online to a virtual festival on June 19 and 20, featuring live streaming video of past performances. Details are forthcoming.

The East Lansing Farmers Market will be open June 7 through Oct. 25 on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Valley Court Park, 280 Valley
Court. Social distancing precautions will be in place.

A #StayFitEL “Go the Social Distance” fitness challenge will feature daily fitness challenges to encourage residents to stay active this summer. Check out cityofeastlansing.com for details.

East Lansing’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Arts is still busy planning for other virtual and continued offerings this summer, including an online menu of continued programming, outdoor group fitness classes in July and virtual children’s theater offerings in June and July.

The East Lansing Hannah Community Center and Prime Time Seniors’ program will remain closed to the public through at least July 12. Activities will eventually resume in phases.

Kids Camp — East Lansing’s summer camp program — is tentatively scheduled to begin July 13 with limited registration. Social distancing precautions will be in full effect.

Adult use of the community center’s fitness center and swimming pool is scheduled to resume July 13 on a reservation basis, with attendance restrictions and social distancing precautions in place. City officials have still not yet decided when to reopen the pool for children.

All summer Learn to Swim classes are canceled through at least Aug. 3. All other classes and programmatic offerings at the community center — including those focused on fine arts and theater — are expected to resume by Aug. 3 on a registration-only basis with restrictions.

All outdoor playgrounds, sports courts, pavilions, picnic shelters and park restrooms in East Lansing will remain closed until at least July 13. Organized and drop-in activities at the city’s sports complexes and Northern Tail Dog Park are suspended until at least Aug. 3. All city-sponsored or club-sponsored athletic leagues for the summer are also canceled.

East Lansing’s summer community events programs — such as the Summer Concert Series, Moonlight Film Festival and Play in the Park — are scheduled to resume in July. The events are still being evaluated to determine if social distancing precautions can be put into place.

The East Lansing Family Aquatic Center will be closed this summer.

Meridian Township

All Meridian Township events though June have been canceled or postponed.

Township playgrounds, bathrooms, shelters, drinking fountains and pavilions remain closed. The exercise equipment at Wonch Park is also closed. Staff will continue to evaluate the use of those amenities as social distancing guidelines and state recommendations continue to shift.

Adult sports and youth sports are postponed until further notice. Youth soccer has been canceled. Refunds or credits will be issued to registrants.

Athletic fields and basketball courts remain closed. Individuals or members of the same household, however, may continue to use them for recreational activity, as allowed under law. Tennis and pickleball courts are open. Play can resume with social distancing precautions.

Summer camps and programs at the Harris Nature Center have been canceled or postponed through June. The Meridian Senior Center also remains closed until state orders are lifted.

The Meridian Township Farmers Market is open Meridian Mall parking lot, though social distancing precautions are in place to reduce contact between vendors and customers.

The township’s Small Dog Park has also reopened, provided people keep their distance.

Delhi Township

The Delhi Township Parks and Recreation Department canceled this summer’s volleyball season and all other summer sports. Registrants will receive a refund.

A “soft opening” period is expected to last through Thursday as new safety protocols are introduced across the township. While township offices remain closed, all parks and trails will stay open. Playground equipment are off limits and public restrooms are closed.
Ingham County

Ingham County Parks, trails, and the Burchfield Park disc golf courses are open, subject to social distancing. The mountain biking trails at Burchfield Park and Bunker Road Lansing — only because of the recent rainfall — are temporarily closed. The Soldan Dog Park is also flooded but is open.

On June 12, park canoe and kayak rentals will reopen at Burchfield Park by reservation on weekends and holidays. Disc golf, hiking, mountain biking trails, bathrooms and limited concession sales will also be available at the park with new safety precautions.

Hawk Island Park will also resume canoe and kayak rentals on June 12.

Walking and running trails and bathrooms will reopen at Soldan Dog Park on June 12.

The boat launch gate and bathrooms will open with limited staffing at Lake Lansing Parks on June 12. Park playgrounds and shelters will be closed through at least June 30.

A variety of programs and amenities will not be offered this summer at all.

Those include: Burchfield Park Summer Day Camp, Lake Lansing Band Shell Friday Night Concerts, Lake Lansing inflatable rentals, Lake Lansing Trikes at the Trike Track, Hawk Island Splash Pad, and all swimming beaches. Call (517) 676-2233 with questions or more information.

Eaton County

All nature trails in Eaton County’s park system are open as long as CDC guidelines for social distancing are followed by guests. Park playgrounds, however, remain closed to the public.

Additional closures include the basketball courts, fish ladder and Ledges Trail at Fitzgerald Park, the beach and swim areas at Fox Park and the pond at Lincoln Brick Park.

So what can Michiganders do this summer?

Michiganders for weeks have been allowed to go golfing — albeit without golf carts — after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer loosened restrictions on outdoor recreational activity last month. Feel free to hit the golf course this summer. Just keep a distance from others and stay out of the closed clubhouse bar.

Personal landscaping has always been allowed in Michigan. Go ahead: Clean up the yard and mow your lawn. After some additional regulations on essential businesses were released last month, landscaping companies are also open across the state. They could use the business.

Canoes, kayaks and motorboats can also feel free to hit the water this summer. All are allowable under executive order. Just be careful not to overcrowd the sandbar with your friends; Gatherings of ten or more are still not allowed, even in the middle of a wide open lake.

Trails, beaches and state parks remain open across most of Michigan. Some state parks have implemented restrictions to limit the number of people crowding any particular space, but otherwise guests should feel free to visit — as long as they keep a distance from other patrons.

Just don’t go to a campground. Whitmer’s orders do not ease up any restrictions on public or private campgrounds. All of them are required to remain closed until at least Thursday, though nothing in the order prohibits socially distant camping on private property with some friends.

Additionally, Whitmer has reopened some long-shuttered sections of the state’s economy. Retail operations were able to resume statewide this week, but customers can only shop by appointment. Newly reopened stores will also be limited to 10 shoppers inside at any given time.

Nonessential medical, dental and veterinary procedures, including pet grooming, can resume on Friday. Businesses must adopt social distancing precautions for staff and customers. Other “places of public accommodation” — like bars, theaters, restaurant dining rooms, salons, massage shops and sports stadiums — are still not able to open their doors across Michigan.

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