COVID-19 Closes Williamson County’s Softball Fields, but Indoor Rec Centers Stay Open


Williamson County Parks & Recreation officials, because of COVID-19, have padlocked all outdoor softball fields to keep people off the premises.

But those same county officials allow access to their indoor recreation centers, where people can, among other things, play tennis and basketball.

Spring Hill parent Lori Wigginton said she doesn’t understand the disparity.

“It’s safer outdoors [during COVID-19],” Wigginton told The Tennessee Star Tuesday.

“They can’t arbitrarily lock fields that are considered public property that we pay taxes for, and that’s my whole premise for this. We fund it.”

Wigginton said county officials padlocked the outdoor softball fields two weeks ago. She also said she has reached out to Gov. Bill Lee, among several other public officials at the state and county levels.

Williamson County Parks & Recreation Director W. Gordon Hampton told The Star in an email Tuesday that he and other county officials restricted access to the softball fields to abide by Lee’s Tennessee Pledge. According to the governor’s website, Lee and several representatives from the public and private sectors crafted the Pledge to help state residents return to a safe environment, restore their livelihoods and reboot Tennessee’s economy.

“Governor Lee’s Tennessee Pledge guidance for reopening of some recreational activities continues to state that adult and youth team sports and leagues should remain closed, and that social distancing should continue,” Hampton said.

“While we attempted to open fields when the Governor’s stay at home order was initially lifted, we found that patrons were not willing to comply with these expectations.”

Hampton said that anyone who operates a pool, park, basketball court, baseball field or playground should close such areas “if the circumstances and operation of that particular venue would lead to persons gathering in groups of 10 or more.” This is also true if separate groups of fewer than 10 are in close proximity to other groups of less than 10.

“Based upon this guidance and our experience when we attempted to open the ball fields, we are continuing to keep them closed until we can offer them consistent with state guidance and the safety and health of our patrons,” Hampton said.

But why do county officials keep the indoor recreation centers open?

“Only some activities in our indoor recreation centers have opened, all consistent with the TN Pledge Guidance,” Hampton said.

“In our indoor centers we are better able to manage social distancing, limitations on groups and hygiene protocols than is possible at outdoor field scattered across the County.”

Hampton said he and other officials will reopen the fields as soon as they “can do so safely.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]







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2 Thoughts to “COVID-19 Closes Williamson County’s Softball Fields, but Indoor Rec Centers Stay Open”

  1. This is complete garbage. Gordon Hampton and Gary Hathcock have adopted a vindictive war against kids and baseball/softball. All surrounding counties are allowing practices of less than 10 to occur (including Davidson). Williamson County allowed them, throughout March and April until an unsanctioned travel baseball team used a public field in Nolensville in early May. The Nolensville Youth Athletics president went as far as to call the police on this team.
    Fact is that some of these fields are public and have remained unlocked for many years, Hampton and Hathcock are merely showing a force of power against the Williamson County baseball and softball communities under the guise of public health, and everyone knows it. Common sense does not prevail, 10 kids over an acre size plot of land outdoors is infinitely less dangerous the playgrounds they allow to be open, or any store or restaurant that is currently open. STOP YOUR POWER PLAY AND OPEN THE FIELDS!

  2. Russ Crouch

    This type of rule, that makes no sense, is the reason that people are revolting against the rules.