The mayor of Westfield says his city, like every other, is facing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as the city looks to get back to normal, Andy Cook says questions remain, largely because of the massive Grand Park Sports Campus, one of the largest youth sports complexes in the entire country. Cook says those questions could also apply to smaller sports facilities in rural areas of the state.
In an interview on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick, Cook said there are two main issues that need to be addressed.
“That is the different the dates that the governor has given us doesn’t have good definition as to how much space those people can occupy, such as the next date we can have 100 people per facility, properly spaced, et cetera. But does that 100 people…does that count on just two acres or does that count, in Westfield’s case at Grand Park, over 400 acres. So you can see there’s a huge difference there,” said Cook. “The other area we need to look at, and speaking with my mayors as I did at least across central Indiana…many of their rec fields and some of their revenue-producing tournament fields are located on school property, which under the current guidelines is defined as they are not open until June 30.”
Governor Eric Holcomb this week authorized the state to move into Stage 3 of its Back on Track plan, which allows for public gatherings of up to 100 people. Recreational youth sports are allowed to resume practices and conditioning, however games with spectators are still prohibited. Practice for some contact sports, such as football and lacrosse are also still prohibited, unless they are non-contact.
The restrictions on games could be lifted when Indiana moves into Stage 4 of the five-stage plan, currently projected for June 14, but games for contact sports would still be “to be determined.”
“We’ve formed a statewide group that William Knox, our director at Grand Park, has put together bringing together a lot of our sports-oriented people all across the state and we’re just asking for some clarification,” Cook said. “We’re not asking for any changes in dates.”
Earlier this week, the city announced it is partnering with IUPUI to conduct a nationwide study designed to provide data to youth sports facilities as they look to reopen with modified health and safety precautions over the next 12-18 months.