Botetourt County officials announced last Tuesday that they are canceling all fall recreation league activities, including football, flag football, cheerleading, and soccer programming. They also announced that they are keeping the Botetourt Sports Complex closed through the end of the fall season.
“This is a sad day for all of us at Botetourt County’s Department of Recreation,” Director of Recreation and Facilities Jim Farmer said. “We had hoped that by the time our fall season came around that the COVID-19 pandemic could be safely managed both on the field and off. However, while the programming we offer and the facilities we provide are economic stimulators and clearly beneficial to youth development and community building, the risk of disease transmission simply remains too high for us to proceed with our normal schedule or planned programming.”
Botetourt County’s athletic facilities and team sports attract visitors from across the Commonwealth and from 25-30 different states each year. With active COVID-19 hot spots around the state, and across the country, county officials did not feel it was prudent to return to normal athletic activities this fall.
“We’ve had a number of officials closely monitoring the situation for many weeks now, and I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that none of them wanted to see another athletic season canceled,” Botetourt County Supervisor Steve Clinton said. “Still, we have a long tradition of prioritizing the health and well-being of our community, protecting our friends and neighbors, and doing what we can to help each other out during challenging times. In this most unusual circumstance, we believe this is the best way we can stay true to these foundational community values. This decision, while incredibly difficult, is the right thing to do.”
The county’s local athletic teams provide recreation, exercise, and entertainment for 75 teams which include 700+ athletes, 150+ coaches, and more than 2,000 fans of all ages. In addition, the county estimates that the Botetourt Sports Complex hosts approximately 17,000 visitors per season.
“Botetourt’s athletic programs and facilities are important to our community. They attract close to 20,000 visitors each year and raise our region’s collective quality of life,” Botetourt County Economic Development Director Ken McFadyen said. “In good times, these assets stimulate the economy and help fill our local hotels and restaurants. Unfortunately, during this pandemic, these same travelers could also introduce additional exposure risk into our environment.”
Botetourt County businesses who anticipate financial losses due to this most recent development are encouraged to apply for the county’s new small business grant program. More information is available at: https://web.botetourtva.gov/econdev/botetourt-county-boco-covid-19-smallbusiness-incentive-grant-program/
Decisions about the winter sports are expected to be made at a later date.