Hendersonville Parks Department Director Andy Gilley announced Thursday, March 24, that several facilities would remain closed through the end of the month due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a press release, Gilley cited that he and his staff will continue to monitor things with local, state, and federal officials. All games, practices, and organized athletic events in the parks will be suspended through April 24.
The parks' facilities will not be locked down during this time. The press release states that if a family wants to come out and enjoy what the parks have to offer, they could, but under no circumstance would organized athletic activities be allowed.
Tennis courts will reopen for recreational play on Monday, March 23, according to the release, saying by this time, the parks department will have had the time to clean areas they have not gotten to yet.
In-line hockey rinks will remain closed even to the public, through the period of time in April that the Hendersonville Inline Hockey Association (HIHA) says the national recommendation is to reopen them.
Parks' meeting rooms will remain closed through April 24.
Mary’s Magical Place, the skate Parks, Kids Kingdom Playground, and all of Veterans Park other than the trailhead restrooms will be closed through April 24.
The annual Spring Fling event at City Hall will be postponed until further notice.
All reservations for shelters and registrations for programs will only be accepted online or over the phone until further notice. Please visit www.hendersonvilleparks.org to get information on these items. Call 615-822-3898 if you need to make a transaction over the phone from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The following Park restrooms will remain open.
Drakes Creek Park
Football, Civitan, Back Soccer (currently closed due to vandalism, will reopen when repaired).
Sanders Ferry Park
Mary’s Magical/Inline Hockey restrooms
During this time, several events have been canceled, including over 10 tournaments through next weekend.
The cancelations will inevitably affect money coming into the city, according to Gilley.
“The parks are a huge driving factor to our sales tax,” he said. “I would go as far as to say that the events we bring in directly correlate to helping keep our property taxes low as well. That money not only helps the parks, but it helps restaurants and our hotels. If we cannot bring in visitors whether it is with tournaments or whatever, that is a huge hit to our city.”
Not only do the tournaments help bring in more money for the city and keep more money in taxpayers’ pockets, morale in the community is a huge factor as well.
“Our city gathers at our parks to enjoy not only the parks but each other,” Gilley added. “We all live here and grew up here and have been coming to these parks for as long as we can remember. These parks bring us a sense of community, and when you do not have that, I think that feeling can get lost.
“Many relationships trace back to these parks. The sooner we can get back to that, the better, but obviously, we are going to follow what is recommended from the state and federal level. This is a huge deviation to our business, our sales tax, and our spirit. Nevertheless, we will put up a good attitude and follow along so that we can get back to our normal as quickly as possible.”
The Parks Department will get together sometime in the next week to discuss what the future looks like after March 31.
Gilley and his staff will be in constant communication with the school board and TSSAA to ensure bringing in high school tournaments as soon as possible. To do that, Gilley adds that his crew will continue to deep clean throughout the parks to ensure safety for the community.
“We do not want to be in a situation where we are still closed, but the TSSAA and schools say that we can open,” he said. “We may bring in a deep cleanup crew, especially with our playgrounds, but our current staff is well-versed and will be able to go in and deep clean whatever needs cleaning.”
You can view updates on the Hendersonville Parks Facebook page at HvilleParks.
“Thank you for all that you are doing to help us navigate through these situations,” Gilley said. “There is nothing we want more than to see the park full of people again as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.”