By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — Bids are out and a timeline for when a contract will be awarded is in place for the Jeffersonville Activities Multiplex Center and its sports fields.
Planners for the project provided an update to constructing the multisport complex off of Charlestown Pike, which is planned to include six full-size soccer fields — two of which are interchangeable as football fields (one is an artificial-turf field with bleachers and lights) — and a 37,000 square-foot, indoor, multiuse facility.
The plan is to construct the new sports complex on a site owned by the Clark County Soccer Association. Jeffersonville’s parks authority has planned on paying for the estimated $5 million complex through a bond anticipation note received for Vissing Park.
The city would pay the loan back through Economic Development Income Tax and parks open space funding. If there is still a balance at the end of five years — the term on the bond anticipation note — the city could then issue the bond to pay the remaining amount.
Kovert-Hawkins Architect James Lake said the bids went out Thursday, and already there has been a strong response.
“[There’s] incredible interest in this project already,” he said. “It’s wearing us out.”
Lake, who also sits on the city’s redevelopment commission, explained to the parks authority board that the bid process included a base bid price with the indoor facility and sports fields, along with a host of alternate bids to help manage the project’s cost and give the board options. One of the alternate bids, however, is not being considered optional.
Road work was among the first set of alternate bids for site work presented in the proposal and was offered as one of the chief concerns for nearby residents. The proposed road work includes adding 100-foot turn lanes on Charlestown Pike in both directions into the complex and adding a left turn lane off of Charlestown Pike into Creekstone Ridge; plans to move the main entrance to the park to line up with Silver Slate Drive; and flatten out a rise in the road to improve sightlines.
Lake said the estimated cost for the road work is $500,000.
Other alternate bids for site work included costs to install Bermuda grass, playground equipment, bleachers and a press box on the turf field.
Lake continued that the second set of alternate bids being offered were for field sports lighting on the two north fields and, separately, on the three south fields.
The final set of alternate bids pertained to the indoor multisport complex.
Among the options offered were to include elevator equipment; concession area upgrades; a flooring upgrade in the fieldhouse; rubber athletic flooring and a rubber track on the second level; portable sports equipment; an upgrade to the sound-absorbent panels; and the installation of LED interior lighting, all as separate bid packages.
Another portion of the project that is being bid separately — but will be opened at the same time as the sports complex project — is a security package for the facility.
“The goal is on that day you have all the prices to complete that project,” Lake said.
He added the goal is for planners is to have the parks authority be able to award a contract at its next board meeting. All of the bids are planned to be opened May 14.
The parks authority is entertaining the idea of accepting Glossbrenner Garden, located at the corner of Chestnut and Spring streets, from Historic Landmarks of Southern Indiana.
“They have offered to donate that to the city as a park,” said Parks Authority Member Dennis Julius. “City Pride has pretty much volunteered to take care of the park. The only thing that I think we ought to keep in mind is if it goes under parks, and City Pride is one day no longer here, the parks department is going to have to take care of it.”
The small public garden in historic downtown Jeffersonville was rehabilitated and has been maintained by Jeffersonville’s City Pride organization.
Parks Authority Member Mike Smith pointed out that the garden will be a pretty significant part of Chestnut Street once its revitalization is complete. The Chestnut Street rehabilitation project is set to get under way soon, which is a plan to improve the corridor leading people from the end of the Big Four pedestrian and bicycle bridge ramp to the businesses along Spring Street in downtown Jeffersonville.
The one requirement included in the agreement for historic landmarks to hand over the property at no cost is that it remains a public garden. The parks authority board asked attorney Scott Lewis to look into the offer and bring more information back to the next meeting.
Parks Director Paul Northam provided an update on plans to permanently moor the RiverStage along Jeffersonville’s riverfront. The plan is to move the entertainment barge about 50 feet downstream, but the city is still waiting on permits to be returned from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Two permits for the RiverStage were tied together in the request — one to move the barge and another to allow for the installation of a video screen on the back of the RiverStage. Northam said the request for the video screen is slowing down the permit process.
With the mention of the video screen, several parks authority board members voiced their opposition to it being included on the entertainment barge. But when it was suggested by the board that the permit requested for the video screen be pulled, Northam said that could cause an additional delay.
“Even if it comes back and they say, ‘yes, we can,’ I don’t think it’s something we have to do,” Northam said of installing the video screen.
The parks authority agreed that it will let the permitting process continue with no changes, and will address the project’s plans when a decision is returned by the Army Corps of Engineers.
The parks authority also agreed to shut down Colston Park and begin the process of transitioning it into a greenspace.
In part, the decision was made because of issues with people practicing softball and hitting balls into the homes nearby. The board directed Northam to decommission the field and begin the process of tearing down the fences and netting.
Future city softball leagues will be played at Vissing Park.