By MATT KOESTERS
The Jeffersonville Parks Authority’s plan to construct a building as part of a multisport complex along Charlestown Pike is in trouble because of costs, and the Ohio River Bridges Project is the culprit.
Part of the construction plan includes the use of 50,000 cubic yards of fill dirt for the new complex to help solve drainage issues. But the $5 million budget for the project, which would include six soccer fields — two of which could also be used as football fields — and an indoor, multisport building fell well short of bids because it assumed fill dirt would cost $7 to $8 per cubic yard. Instead, the cost of fill dirt has risen to around $25 per cubic yard, said Matt Gullo, an architect with Kovert Hawkins.
Gullo pointed to the huge amount of fill dirt needed for the Ohio River Bridges Project. Gullo presented alternatives to the parks authority that would allow the project to come in below the $5 million initial estimate, but none of those alternatives included the building.
Parks authority member and city Councilman Dennis Julius wondered aloud if another property without drainage issues could be purchased to serve as the site for the complex, but councilman and authority President Ed Zastawny responded that it’s difficult to buy land because land prices also have been inflated by the bridges project.
Authority member and Councilman Mike Smith asked if the building wasn’t a higher priority than the soccer and football fields, but Zastawny responded that the fields were more important in his opinion.
“Together they’d be incredible, but either/or, it’d be a very unique place [with just the fields],” Zastawny said.
Zastawny said that the authority plans to get in touch with the Clark-Floyd Regional Tourism Bureau to see about asking for help with funding for the project. However, no action was taken by the authority because without the building component as part of the plan, the entire project may need to be refigured, attorney Scott Lewis said.
Gullo warned the authority that the price of fill dirt will remain high, and that delays on the project could become costly.
The issue will be revisited at the next meeting of the parks authority. The board has the same members as the city council.
FRETTING ABOUT FRO-YO
The authority tabled a contract with Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt to permit the company to sell its products at the Jeffersonville Aquatic Center.
Parks Director Paul Northam presented the contract to the authority, which would entitle the city’s parks department to $1 for every cup of frozen yogurt sold by the frozen-yogurt chain. However, a multitude of legal concerns prevented the authority from taking any action.
Lewis noted that the contract, which he believed was written by Orange Leaf, did not include a provision requiring the vendor to carry liability insurance. Lewis warned that the city could be held liable if something were to go wrong.
Councilwoman and Authority Member Lisa Gill asked how the city’s portion of the profits from sales would be tracked. Northam responded that the parks department would likely depend on Orange Leaf to provide the numbers.
“I think this [contract] is something [Lewis] could tighten up,” Julius said.
The authority discussed the possibility of taking over Glossbrenner Public Garden, which is owned by Indiana Landmarks and cared for Jeffersonville City Pride.
The question at hand: If the city were to take ownership of the garden, which city department would be charged with ownership?
Lewis said title work must be done to ensure that there are no outstanding liens against the property.