News and Tribune

February 1, 2013

Floyd County parks board to hold first meeting Monday

Officials: New department is running smoothly

By DANIEL SUDDEATH
daniel.suddeath@newsandtribune.com

NEW ALBANY — The Floyd County Parks Board will launch Monday with an organizational meeting among its five members. 

Tom Millea, Ted Heavrin, Scott Klink, Butch Lang and Steve LaDuke make up the board. The members are comprised by selections from the Floyd County Council, County Commissioners and Floyd Circuit Court Judge Terrence Cody. 

Floyd County began operating its own parks department in January after the New Albany City Council voted in favor of Mayor Jeff Gahan’s proposal to split the joint system primarily over funding differences. 

Don Lopp, director of operations and county planning, said Floyd County Parks Director Roger Jeffers has done a great job with the facilities and programs especially at the Southern Indiana Sports Center. 

“I think we’ve had a very smooth transition, and that’s in large part due to the staff and the employees and their hard work,” Lopp said. 

County Commissioners President Steve Bush echoed Lopp’s sentiments about Floyd County managing its own parks department for the first time in almost 20 years. 

“I think as far as the operation goes, we’re doing great, we’ve not missed a beat,” Bush said. 

The county and city have already divided up the equipment and property that was shared under the joint department. The final step of the process — splitting the funds that remained at the end of 2012 — is likely to be taken on by the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday.  

Based on the original joint parks agreement, the city will receive a 53-percent and the county a 47-percent share of the funds. 

Since the first of the year, Gahan has announced large recreational projects for the city including an aquatic center, Little Leage complex and new soccer fields at Binford Park. 

However, Gahan hasn’t made a permanent hire for city parks director, and members for a New Albany parks board haven’t been announced. 

Most of the members of Floyd County’s board were in the middle of the debate between the city and county over funding last year. 

Heavrin was Floyd County Council president at the time, and Klink, LaDuke and Millea were on the New Albany-Floyd County Parks Board. 

“We have a lot of qualified people on the board,” Bush said. 

The board meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Pine View Government Center Assembly Room.