It seems as if the entire world has changed since our Community Partners last assembled. Like many organizations, the coronavirus outbreak has forced us to re-evaluate our mission, rethink the consequences of our actions, and seek new ways to continue our important work in a time of sheltering in place. Our mission of encouraging and providing opportunities to activate Indy Greenways remains intact but we are responding in ways we believe to be responsive to the health of the community at large. With guidance from Indy Parks and our healthcare partners, our two programs scheduled for March, our Spring Family Hike and our Walk With a Doc on the White River Greenway were both cancelled, and our upcoming Walk With a Doc Programs will likely also be cancelled. We are fortunate to have the Marion County Department of Public Health and Eskenazi Health as two of our community partners and we are following their lead and guidance on determining the appropriate time for programming to return to the greenways.
You may have also noticed that in early March we were still promoting personal use of the greenways on our social media, including guidelines for Social Distancing in Public Parks and Trails. Our initial thought was to continue to promote responsible use of the greenways during this crisis, further reinforcing their value to the community. In late March, we were involved in a meeting with DPW about increased use of the Monon during the shelter in place decree, and the concern over a lack of social distancing being seen on several of the greenways. We all share a fear that things will only get worse as the weather gets nicer. It is commendable that Indy Parks and Indy DPW have refrained from closing the greenways, and it is really hard NOT to advocate for the greenways, but it has also become difficult to reconcile the health dangers with continued promotion for public use. We have decided to instead focus on providing updates for future programs or sharing valuable information from our community partners about preserving the health and safety of our community---you may have noticed we recently shared a series of blog posts from community partner Jump IN for Healthy Kids about tips for keeping kids active during quarantine. We will always advocate for Indy Greenways, but feel we have a responsibility in not promoting use that risks such huge health consequences. We ask that our community partners help us share valuable content that helps promote our shared vision.
We are continuing our work on planning great future programs and activities for Indy Greenways and look forward to the time when social restrictions allow our return to the greenways. Thank you to all of our community partners in helping us to navigate this uncertain time and remain relevant to a scared world.