By BRADEN LAMMERS
A rebid soccer complex off Charlestown Pike came in on target for the Jeffersonville Parks Authority.
A contract was awarded to AML Inc. to construct six soccer fields — two of which can be used for football, including an artificial-turf field — for $4.05 million.
The parks authority decided to rebid a modified plan for its multisport complex because bids on the original plan came in nearly $2 million over budget. The budget for the project was originally about $5 million, but the costs soared due to a rise in the cost for fill dirt because of increased demand related to the Ohio River Bridges Project. Costs jumped from $7 to $8 per cubic yard to about $25 per cubic yard, Matt Gullo, architect with Kovert Hawkins, said previously.
The biggest change to the original design for the Woehrle Youth Athletic Complex was the removal of a 37,000-square-foot building on the site. With the change, the lowest base bid for the project came in at $3.75 million. The high base bid was $4.48 million.
At this week’s parks authority meeting, the board accepted the low bid and several alternates from AML. Among the alternates approved were an upgraded artificial turf, a playground, bleacher and a press box at the turf field and an upgrade to LED lighting. Upgrades that were not included in the approved package were lights for the north and south fields and an upgrade to the asphalt.
With the changes, AML’s price increased to slightly more than $4 million.
Parks Authority President Ed Zastawny said the first two parts of the project that are likely to move forward are the road improvements along Charlestown Pike and the parking lot that will be built there. Still included in the scope of work is pouring the foundation and running the utilities to what could eventually become the indoor, multisport complex.
“I think we should move forward with it,” Zastawny said of the building. “I think it would be a great asset for the city; the problem is how do you pay for it?”
He said the estimated cost for the building is about $2.5 million. The parks authority has been seeking alternative sources of funds to pay for the structure, including potential funding from the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau and possibly seeking a bond to cover the costs. But Zastawny said he is not sure if the majority of the parks authority board is willing to move forward on bonding to pay for the building.
“We would have to redo and rebid the building. That would be our next discussion,” he said.
The money to pay for the sports complex is coming from a bond anticipation note received for Vissing Park that totaled $5 million. The plan was to pay the loan back through Economic Development Income Tax and parks open space funding and avoid seeking a loan. Zastawny added that the longer the board waits, the higher the costs of construction and financing will rise.
The approval to enter a contract with AML was approved 8-1, with Parks Authority Board Member Zach Payne voting against it.
Kovert Hawkins Architect James Lake said construction on the athletic complex should begin within 30 days, but the Clark County Soccer Association must first approve the land-use agreement. While construction is ongoing, Jeffersonville Parks Director Paul Northam said soccer leagues will be moved to the fields behind Community Action of Southern Indiana along Eighth Street in Jeffersonville.
“The first plan is to play there. If they need another field, we’re looking to use Colston Park,” Northam said.
Zastawny said dirt is being leveled out at Colston Park and the lights for the former softball field will remain. If the fields are playable, Zastawny said the fall and spring soccer seasons, especially night games, could be played in the park.
“The hope is by next fall, the artificial turf would be in so we could play [at the Woehrle Athletic Complex],” he said. “[Eventually], our plan would be that football would be moving there as well as soccer.”
Colston Park has been identified by Mayor Mike Moore as a property that he would like to market to private developers to create a mixed-use space of retail and condominiums on the property. However, before the plan could move forward, additional studies must be conducted to determine where a Civil War-era gravesite is on the land.
The parks authority, which owns Colston Park, gave a blessing to the Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission do the additional studies required.
“We’ve opened the door to let redevelopment do their studies and see if that property is developable,” Zastawny said. “That process takes months and months, so I don’t think it will affect people playing soccer. My guess is if we thought it was a good project that brought in revenue and jobs, we’d go for it, [but] it depends on the plan.”
The parks authority is made up of the same nine members as the city council.