News and Tribune

February 17, 2013

Sports Center brought record collections to Floyd County in January

County Parks Board leadership resembles previous body

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — It’s been a busy month-and-a-half for Floyd County Parks Director Roger Jeffers.

As the department has embarked on an autonomous route, Jeffers has been dealing with everything from staff transition to filing new tax documents for vendors.

The city has given Jeffers until March to find a new place to call home, as the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety agreed this week to allow him to stay in a house on the Cannon Acres property through the middle of next month.

The city received ownership of Cannon Acres when the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Department split into two entities, and Jeffers went from being superintendent of the joint operation to the head of the county entity. Funding was at the heart of the parks divide, but Jeffers said January was a great month for the county department.

The Southern Indiana Sports Center was retained by the county after the split, and in January the gymnasium helped the department garner more than $52,000 in rental dues.

“That’s probably a record month,” Jeffers said.

Typically, January rental fees for parks facilities would bring-in between $30,000 and $35,000 when the department was a joint effort, Jeffers said.

The county rents other facilities, such as the gym in the Pine View Government Center, but Jeffers credits the rise in revenue to an increased usage of the Sports Center by the local Union Volleyball Club.

However, the county won’t have the softball fees to collect that New Albany will this spring, summer and fall for league play at Anderson Park. Jeffers said that lack of revenue has been anticipated by the county, and there are proposals in the works to help offset some of the funding dip from softball dues.

The Floyd County Parks Board is now set, as Mayor Jeff Gahan appointed Leslie Lewis-Sheets to the body last week. New Albany received an appointment to the board as it’s the county seat.

The leadership of the board is familiar, as essentially the officers are a carry-over from the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board.

As they were on the joint body, Scott Klink is serving as president and Steve LaDuke as vice president of the county board. The county body also includes former NA-FC parks board members Butch Lang and Tom Millea.

“That consistency and continuity makes it a lot easier for me,” Jeffers said of the board.

Former Floyd County Council President Ted Heavrin is the sixth member of the body.

Beyond normal operations, the county has also endorsed a sizable and somewhat controversial project. On Monday, New Albany Little League officials announced Floyd County would partner with the organization to construct a new baseball and softball complex.

Gahan has plans to build a separate baseball facility in the city, as those opposed to the Little League proposal have criticized its would-be location north of Interstate 265, which is in the county on land currently owned by Northside Christian Church.

Jeffers said Friday the county is interested in establishing green and parks space in the area.

It was the possibility of adding park land in the eastern corridor of Floyd County that sparked the partnership, Floyd County Commissioners’ President Steve Bush said Friday. He cited a 2008 parks masterplan that pointed out a deficiency in recreational space in that area.

“It’s going to lend itself to more of a parks district area,” Bush said. “The Little League is just one staple of it.”

Attorney needed

• The Floyd County Parks Board is seeking an attorney. Those interested are asked to contact Parks Director Roger Jeffers by March 1. He can be reached via e-mail at rjeffers@floydcounty.in.gov