LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After weeks of no visitors, Lexington's McConnell Springs and Raven Run nature areas are re-opening with stipulations.
Lexington Parks and Recreation Special Events Services Manager Michelle Franzetti explained the shut down came from too many visitors weeks ago. She said, "We had to close down, come up with a plan and now we're ready to re-open in a way that we think is a lot safer."
That safer way is through a controlled entry process that is planned through online sign-ups on the city's website for two-hour slots to bring in up to 9 people.
"For McConnell springs were able to accept 35 vehicles at a time. And for Raven Run we currently can accept 50 vehicles at a time," Franzetti explained. "Now, that being said, we're reevaluating on a weekly basis because this is new to us, too. So we want to make sure we're doing this the smartest and best way that we can."
When visitors arrive, she said they will need to show proof of registration through a printed copy or digital copy of their confirmation.
To help visitors maximize their time at Raven Run, Lexington Parks and Recreation suggested hikes that are attainable within the two-hour limit.
As of Wednesday, the parks and nature areas in Lexington have minimal police presence and no police on bikes. "We haven't had to get to that but is that something that they, you know, discussed as a possibility if people are not abiding by the six foot rule," said Franzetti.
As far as the facilities on-site, she said the city is hoping to keep those available.
"The bathrooms are open, we are upping our game and sanitizing those restrooms. We are posting and trying to educate encouraging people you know only one family in the restroom at a time, please wash your hands, it's the best thing you can do," explained Franzetti. "We're trying to make steps to make that experience as safe as it can be too."
The two nature areas re-join Lexington's more than 100 parks that have been open but, playgrounds and sport courts remain closed.
Lexington Parks and Recreation says they want the community to know the restrictions are not permanent.
Franzetti explained, "They're temporary changes to try to find better and better solutions. So we just need everybody's patience and patience and support, and we'll be back to normal as soon as we can be."