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East County Friday, Apr. 3, 2020 11 months ago

Sarasota park remains open during pandemic

Nathan Benderson Park officials will keep the park open but ask public to practice social distancing.
by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

A popular Sarasota County park will remain open to the public as a destination for recreational and fitness activities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Stephen Rodriguez, the Suncoast Aquatic Nature Center Associates president and CEO, said Nathan Benderson Park will remain open.

"Though we have not been hosting events or organizing group programming for public safety reasons, our staff continues its work to provide a fantastic amenity and prepare for the future," Rodriguez said in a news release.

With a state shutdown mandated, SANCA offices will be closed to the public. The park itself will remain open with modifications to its operations from April 3-30.

They include:

• The gates on Regatta Island, the North Cattlemen road playground and south entrance and the Honore Avenue entrance will be closed to limit vehicular access through the park and on the island;

• Park users are asked to use the grass parking lot next to the SCAT station or the north park area (where the circus sets up) for parking. Guests then can access the park via walking trails or sidewalks;

• Access from Cattlemen Road, across the two bridges to the bus loop on Regatta Island, will remain open for parking;

• The south boat ramp will be affected by the gate closure, so there will be a dock positioned at the north lake for boaters to launch small watercraft;

• Restroom facilities will remain open and cleaned throughout the day.

Rodriguez said guests should practice social distancing (stay at least 6 feet apart), should avoid congregating in groups and should keep pets on a 6-foot leash. Those who are sick or experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms should stay home,

Additionally, recreational swimming is not allowed on the lake. Operation of gas-powered motors also is prohibited on the lake.

The park is located at 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota.

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