WTF: Manteno Mayor, Village says Playgrounds open: “Use at your own risk”


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Despite it being nearly three weeks since Governor Pritzker’s “Stay-at-Home” Executive Order was issued on March 20th, playgrounds and parks will remain open in the Village of Manteno.  

 “I know that there is going to people by and they’re going to see kids that are there and they’re too close and they’re not going to like that. I guess my question there is ‘why aren’t they at home themselves,’” said Manteno Mayor Tim Nugent Monday night. “(Parks and Playgrounds) are almost impossible to be able to Police.”

COVID-19 has infected 1,390,000 worldwide and killed over 10,000 U.S. citizens with 3,400 people in New York City alone. Illinois as of Monday reported 307 dead in the State.

The Executive Order issued by Illinois’ Governor is designed to keep the Healthcare system from being bogged down amid the largest public health crisis since 1918 Flu Epidemic.

“Parks are open for your enjoyment, please use the social distancing rules and stay away. You can use the paths. You can enjoy the parks, but use them at your own risk.” Mayor Nugent said during Monday’s Board Meeting, which was closed to public comment and streamed via YouTube only. “Our public works department has gone around and sanitized the equipment that’s there. But as soon as they leave and somebody comes and uses it, there’s no guarantee that playground equipment is free of germs.”

“Use those things at your own risk.” Mayor Nugent said of the playgrounds. You can read a full summary of the Executive Order on playground closures below.

The Mayor cited the Village does not want citizens to use Basketball or Tennis courts amid the pandemic but declined to give a reason why they are ignoring both scientific data and the deaths of hundreds of Illinoisans due to the Pandemic. No word was given on why the Village has ignored the Governor’s Executive Order regarding playground closures.

Ages from children to people in their 90s have been infected with COVID-19. This morning, County Health officials reported 108 cases of the disease in the County.

Manteno officials ask you to contact Village Administrator Chris LaRocque with questions regarding the Village’s decision. He can be reached at 815-929-4842 or

Country Herald has reached out to both the Village of Manteno representatives and Governor Pritzker’s office for an official comment to the clear disregarding of the State of Illinois Executive Order.

Executive Order: 

3. Prohibited Activities:  

“All places of public amusement, whether indoors or outdoors, including but not limited to, locations with amusement rides, carnivals, amusement parks, water parks, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, fairs, children’s play centers, playgrounds, funplexes, theme parks, bowling alleys, movie and other theaters, concert and music halls, and country clubs or social clubs hall be closed to the public. 

Shane Saathoff
Shane Saathoff
An active writer for two decades, Shane's focuses on local news and events throughout the area, Shane is an active historian, science nerd, and tech geek. Shane is a native of Bourbonnais, IL, and alumni of Olivet Nazarene University.


  1. During one of Pritzker’s public addresses, he said he was leaving the decision up to local municipalities to close their parks as needed. We saw this when Lightfoot had to close the Lakefront Trail. I’m confident if Mayor Nugent saw common and dangerous abuse of the parks without social distancing being in place, he would close them. I love within blocks of many of Manteno’s parks and my family has been going on daily walks observing all social distancing (and then some). The parks are not being abused. I’m not sure the intention of this article.


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