San Marcos residents hope new safety measures will keep river parks open this time

Hays

SAN MARCOS, Texas (KXAN) — The city of San Marcos plans to reopen its river parks on Wednesday, again.

Some people hope new measures will keep them open this time.

The city initially closed river parks back in March. They then reopened in May only to close again in June after a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“As long as I’ve lived here, I’ve used the river,” says Thomas O’Connor, a resident of about eight years.

“Oh my goodness, normally we come to the river every weekend– at least every weekend, sometimes every day just kind of depending on the time of year,” says Paula Korzeniewski, a resident of 27 years.

Both were excited when the city reopened river parks in May, after nearly two months of closures.

“But then very quickly I saw that maybe it was a little hasty. They hadn’t taken all the precautions into mind,” Korzeniewski says.

“I was running one day and the Lion’s club, the lines were so long and it was so compact that I couldn’t run safely. I didn’t have a mask on because I was running and there was just no way to avoid people and so, that was concerning. It was very concerning,” she recalls.

The mayor announced a second closure less than a month later, in June, citing a spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.

Some private property owners, like Ivar’s River Pub, have been granting limited access to the river.

On Sunday, O’Connor and a small group of others held a Pride event on the river bank of Ivar’s.

“It’s normally San Marcos Pride yesterday,” O’Connor explains. “No one’s really doing anything, so we brought it upon ourselves to do a very small scale, first-annual Colors of the River event.”

He and Korzeniewski have been accessing the river from Ivar’s for weeks, for a small fee.

“We’ve been able to come out, maintain social distancing… enjoy the river without all the hoards and people and tubers out here and [I’m] kind of scared to go back to that,” O’Connor says.

This time around, the city says it’s trying to limit crowds by keeping picnic tables and pavilions fenced off.

As per the governor’s orders, tube rental companies have to stay closed, as well.

O’Connor says those measures should have been implemented back in March, instead of closing down river parks completely.

“Even if at the beginning we had to have the park rangers come out here and take the temperatures of people or make it residents only, there were ways to do it,” he says.

Still, he’s happy to see progress and he and Korzeniewski hope they don’t have to see river parks close for a third time.

“Let’s do this safely and soundly and make sure we open properly this time,” Korzeniewski says.

A full list of river parks reopening is below:

Park NameTo Be OpenedTo Remain Closed
River Front Parks  
Rio VistaX 
City ParkX 
Plaza ParkX 
VeramendiX 
BicentennialX
Children’s ParkX
Crook ParkX 
Veteran’s Memorial ParkX 
Dog BeachX 
Capes Park X
Thompson’s Island X
Stokes ParkX 
Ramon Lucio ParkX 
Wildlife Annex ParkX
City of San Marcos

You can find more information about park amenities and hours here.

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