City of Minneapolis Closes Parks, Removes Nets

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board decides to close and take off equipment at parks to enforce social distancing


Sonia Baig, Staff Writer

Since Governor Tim Walz issued the stay at home order on March 27, Minnesotans have had to find a new normal with socially distant activities. 

While many originally turned to enjoying the outdoors in our state’s beautiful parks, outdoor activities are now being restricted in order to enforce best health practices. Officially taking action in May, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board removed tennis nets, volleyball nets, and basketball rims in parks across Minneapolis. This step was taken in response to the Minneapolis Health Department receiving many complaints filed against large groups congregating to play sports like basketball and soccer. While tennis courts were originally going to be kept open, the city ultimately decided to close these too as more people were violating social distancing guidelines while playing doubles. 

The Park Board has even gone as far as locking the doors to many tennis courts and has been more strictly monitoring activities in parks. In Minneapolis’s Kenwood Park, law enforcement officers roam the park on horses to ensure that everyone is practicing safe distancing as they enjoy the wonderful spring weather. 

While Minnesota’s government has encouraged staying active, these new regulations make it harder to do so. Rachel Winkey ‘21 says, “the one way that I was getting fresh air was going out and shooting [hoops], but now I can’t do that as much. It’s definitely making quarantine harder.” Annabelle Swigert ‘22 adds, “I don’t want to criticize what the government is doing, but they have to remember that it’s necessary for us to be able to be outside, and tennis is the king of social distancing sports, so I don’t understand why they have to take the nets off the court.” 

The Park Board has seen a lot of pushback, especially from the tennis community, as many believe that stronger efforts could have been made to monitor social distancing before closing public facilities altogether. 

While Minneapolis and St. Paul have been the first cities to remove nets and rims, other cities have taken more moderate action. At Creek Valley Elementary School in Edina, nets have been removed on alternating tennis courts to create more space between players, and parks have been more closely watched by Park Board workers. Though surrounding cities have not officially stated their plans, these precautionary steps have sparked worries that other cities will follow in Minneapolis’ footsteps.