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Playgrounds remain closed, awaiting public health guidance. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Chicago parks have reopened — though technically the outdoors was never “closed,” except along the lakefront — but access to facilities and equipment will remain limited.

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A Chicago police vehicle blocks the track at Mandrake Park on the city’s South Side. (WTTW News)

Despite restricted access to the lakefront and its adjacent parks during the pandemic, most Chicago parks are supposed to be open. Why some residents and park advocates are concerned about equitable access to these much-needed spaces.

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The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park is the type of amenity that earned Chicago’s parks top ParkScore marks. (R Boed / Flickr)

In an annual ranking by The Trust for Public Land, Chicago’s park system came in 10th out of the nation’s 100 largest cities, earning high marks for accessibility and amenities.

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A cyclist wearing a face mask rides a Divvy bike in Chicago. (WTTW News)

Since the city shut down lakefront parks and other public spaces in March, there have been calls for more open spaces. But some advocates say that push overlooks the priorities of communities of color, which have been hardest hit by the coronavirus. 

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Memorial Park in Blue Island (WTTW News)

Amid stay-at-home orders, park leaders are wondering how to help residents while keeping them safe. Thomas Wogan, executive director of the Blue Island Park District, says he’s trying to stay optimistic.

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The 20-acre West Ridge Nature Preserve is temporarily closed. (John Iwanski / Flickr)

An influx of visitors has made social distancing difficult, so the preserve was padlocked over the weekend. Nearby, Rosehill Cemetery has also closed its grounds to the general public.

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In an effort to discourage people from congregating, Chicago on Thursday shut down many public spaces. (WTTW News)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot shut down Chicago’s lakefront, 606 trail and Riverwalk to encourage social distancing. But will limiting access to public space reduce the demand for it? We look to other cities’ ideas.

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Now is not the time for a long stroll or ride along the lakefront, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. (Eric Allix Rogers / Flickr)

Chicago’s mayor says too many people are flouting the governor’s order to stay home and maintain social distance, particularly along the lakefront and at playgrounds. “This situation is deadly serious,” she said Wednesday.

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(Smart Chicago Collaborative / Flickr)

Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the closure of the citys public libraries and parks as of 5 p.m. Saturday.

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(WTTW News)

Signs for Douglas Park on Chicago’s West Side have received an unofficial update in recent weeks: a second “s.” The change comes after years of activisim in North Lawndale to rename the park.

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(Courtesy Friends of Big Marsh)

A grant from the state will help fund creation of the Chicago Park District’s first campground and a fully accessible 3-mile trail at Big Marsh, a natural area rising up from the waste of big steel on the city’s Southeast Side.

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A black-crowned night heron snags a fish on River Park’s new riverbed habitat, where Chicago’s last waterfall once flowed. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

On Chicago’s Northwest Side, a gently sloping riverbed occupies the former site of a small but historically important dam. We visit a popular fishing spot – for humans and birds alike – at River Park.

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Florida alligator expert Frank Robb holds an alligator during a news conference, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

Most of the costs arose from city workers putting up and removing barricades to keep people away from the lagoon in Humboldt Park after the male reptile was first spotted there last month.

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Florida alligator expert Frank Robb holds an alligator during a news conference, Tuesday, July 16, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky)

The 4-foot, 18-pound American alligator will stay alone for 90 days to make sure he is illness-free, and then join other gators, says St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park Director John Brueggen.

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Attendees of the Go Grind youth skate camp practice tricks on the grass of Piotrowski Skate Park in Chicago. (Evan Garcia / WTTW News)

The Chicago Park District teams up with a local organization to offer youth skateboarding camps and clinics at skate parks across the city. We “drop in” for a look at Go Grind.

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The Humboldt Park alligator was caught early Tuesday, July 16, 2019. (Courtesy of Chicago Animal Care and Control)

The alligator had a good run as day after day the people hunting for him in a Chicago lagoon came up empty, but in the end he was no match for an expert the city shipped in from Florida.