Smile Politely

Allerton Park and Retreat Center will be closed until further notice

Yesterday, Allerton made the difficult decision to close the park and retreat center in order to comply with University of Illinois and State of Illinois guidelines for social distancing. From Bridget Frerichs, Associate Director of Advancement: 

We realize this isn’t a popular decision, but the University made the call to close Allerton with the best of intentions, and we believe it will become increasingly apparent that it was the right call to make. Through this entire crisis I have been more thankful than ever that we are part of the University. We are looking to them for guidance and directives, and while this wasn’t an easy one to take (or for them to make), we truly appreciate everything they are doing to try and keep our community and employees safe.

Since the announcement, a lot of people have expressed their disappointment with the decision. I will admit that was my first reaction as well. Don’t we need these natural areas more than ever right now? But here’s the thing…it’s not just about you being able to go wander the woods. There are so many logistical considerations to be made. Do they close the restrooms? Put away picnic tables? What happens when the weather gets warmer and more people start to congregate there? 

Right now everyone: individuals, businesses, organizations, and local leaders are having to make hard decisions that they don’t want to make. It’s easy to criticize, especially when we aren’t privy to all of the conversations that are happening prior to these types of announcements. 

All we can do is adapt, extend grace, and continue to support the places and people we love in any way we can. Allerton is a local gem, one of the 7 Wonders of Illinois in fact, and while we will miss it during this time, it’ll be waiting for us on the other side. 

Photo by Sam Logan.

Staff writer

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