The New York State Parks and Recreation Department will close all four of the Spring Gardens of New York City to visitors in mid-July, according to a statement released by the department.
“We do not anticipate this closure to affect any visitors who wish to visit the gardens, as it is a long-standing tradition and has been in the works for many years,” the statement reads.
The decision was made after a review of existing permits and protocols, the statement continues.
The announcement comes after a week in which protests over the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who died from a chokehold by police, sparked national discussion about police violence.
“This decision will send a message to visitors that we will be watching closely to ensure this important part of our park is not impacted,” Parks Commissioner Daniel Blanco said in a statement.
“I hope visitors who plan to visit are reassured that the Garden of the Gods is a place that welcomes all and is open to all.”
The announcement came on the heels of a protest last week at the Garden that drew more than 200 people.
The Garden of Divine Light is the centerpiece of the Garden and was dedicated in 1996 to the city’s indigenous people.
It has become a place of prayer and celebration, with people coming to gaze upon the sun and hear sacred music.
The first two weeks of July will be the first time that the gardens will not be open to visitors.