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Phoenix, Tempe Close Park Playgrounds, Sports Courts

Phoenix and Tempe have joined Mesa and Gilbert by closing city park amenities.

On Monday, the Phoenix City Council voted to close playgrounds, fitness stations and basketball and volleyball courts.

Councilmember Carlos Garcia said he’s worried the action will increase crowds at hiking trails.

“I feel like If we’re going to do this I’d prefer to do something uniformly that sends a message that we’re actually encouraging people to stay home," he said. 

Garcia suggested the city close trails, too. That idea frustrated Councilman Sal DiCiccio who predicted the council would see a "public uprising" if that happened.

“People need to be outside, people need to be in the parks, people need to be able to run, they need to do that, “ he said. “They need to be able to get outside, otherwise they’re going to go stir crazy inside their homes.”

Gallego stressed people will still have access to city parks: “Today’s motion does not close any parks. It closes some facilities within parks and is consistent with what many other cities, including several in the east valley have done.”

For now, Phoenix trails remain open. Later this week, the council is scheduled to discuss trails and parks again. Tempe’s mayor ordered the closure of all city park amenities with the exception of restrooms and water fountains. Unlike Phoenix, Tempe’s closures include dog parks.

Tempe’s closures begin at 6 a.m. on March 31. Phoenix’s closures will begin at 5 p.m. on March 31 and include playgrounds, fitness equipment, basketball and volleyball courts and sports complexes within city parks.

Mesa closed its playgrounds, volleyball, tennis, pickleball and basketball courts, along with splash pads while keeping trails and walking paths open. Last Saturday, Gilbert closed its playgrounds and other park amenities.

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As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.