Mayor partially reopens Gary’s beaches and Marquette Park

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The Indiana sand dunes. (Lyndon French for The New York Times)

Crusader Staff Report

Gary Mayor Jerome A. Prince on Tuesday, August 11, announced the city’s beaches and Marquette Park will partially reopen from Friday, August 14, through Labor Day, September 7.

Prince said he closed the beaches and the park to help protect Gary residents and visitors from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The mayor’s previous order included the closure of Marquette Park shelters and all adjacent parking. The park will remain open for recreational activity (i.e. walking, cycling, etc.) as long as residents practice social distancing. All other parks in Gary will remain open.

Prince said the newly announced reopening plan balances the community’s safety and the enjoyment of outdoor recreation venues.

“I’m confident we have developed a plan to provide access to our beautiful beaches and parks while still controlling the number of people visiting the sites, which is important in our fight against the spread of the virus,” Mayor Prince said. “However, my team and I continue to monitor our COVID-19 cases very closely, and I retain the right to shut down the beaches and Marquette Park again if access to them jeopardizes our residents’ well -being.”

According to the reopening plan, the full closure will be lifted after Thursday, August 13. Beginning August 14, all public parking lots will be limited to 75 percent capacity. Once capacities have been reached, visitors will be turned away by city staff and police officers from the Gary Police Department and the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.

All shelters near the beach will be limited to 75 percent capacity, as well. If the numbers of visitors exceeds capacities at the shelters, police officers will advise guests to reduce their group sizes.

Visitors will not be allowed to park on residential streets near the beaches, Marquette Park or the Marquette Park Pavilion. Any visitors parked on private property without a resident’s permission or along residential streets will be ticketed and towed. Visitors who violate metered parking rules also may be towed. Following are the fees associated with tows:

  • Prohibited parking citation: $155 (before court fees)
  • Towing fee: $180 plus $30/day storage
  • Tow release: $50/vehicle

Prince said the Gary Police Department will not issue tow releases over the weekend.

On Tuesday, Gary reported a total of 1,196 COVID-19 cases and a total of 71 deaths to date.

The City of Gary is reporting 11 new positive COVID-19 cases, for a total of 1,196.

On Monday, August 10, Prince commended Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker, who was nominated for a COVID-19 Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

“Dr. Walker has been a critical part of my team’s fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Gary and in Lake County,” Prince said.

“He has given us guidance, solid medical advice even as he has dealt with the illness in his own family.”

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum will announce the winner in the fall.

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