Tri-City Ledger -

By Gretchen McPherson
Ledger Staff 

Jay working on park and facility use master plan

Groups to meet Jan. 18 to begin process

 

January 6, 2022



With the $3 million park master plan preliminary start date of June 1 or sooner quickly approaching, the Jay Town Council Monday night scheduled a public meeting at town hall Jan. 18 with local recreation leaders to discuss how to centralize all recreational programs in Jay and move forward as a community united.

Council members discussed meeting with the different sports and recreation groups in the area to come up with a timeline to coincide with what phase of the park master plan will be in effect, possibly interfering with play time for football, soccer, tennis, basketball and any other sports.

There was a consensus among council members that centralizing all the sports at the park will involve getting input from the various leagues, recreation and sports groups to develop a panel or council that will include members from each and an understanding of what is expected for participation.

“If we are going to have a panel, I think we need some bullet information,” said Councilwoman Nina Hendricks. “This is full transparency. We need to know what you've got, everything you are doing, how much money, etc. We need all that if we are making decisions based on that information. If they are going to be talking, that's what they need to be saying, not 'I want I want I want', but this is what I am doing, this is what I am making, this is what I am giving, etc.”

Councilwoman Jane Hayes expressed concern that the groups need to provide better financials than what they have been giving.

“We need what their business plan is for 2022,” said Hayes.

Councilman Josh Holloway suggested reaching out to area YMCAs to determine how they work with multiple sports entities and make it work.

“Something to show them it's possible,” said Holloway. “This is the way other people do it, just to show, hey they're successful at it, why can't we do this?”

Mayor Shon Owens mentioned paying someone to manage the parks and recreation program.

“You can probably estimate $100,000 that you'll spend on a person in benefits, and pay and other things,” said Owens. “These things we just need to be looking at from an overhead standpoint.”

Hayes suggested three things be discussed with local sports groups at the meeting to move forward as a community: the importance of each of their financial and organizational structures; the timelines for the park of what seasons may or not be available; and the town's plans for funding park maintenance, its responsibilities and the centralization of a sports program that encompasses all the sports entities.

“If we do this, we are going to need your buy-in on this,” said Hayes. “We will still need to understand how things work and to set up a transition period.”

Hayes cited the long-time expertise of coaches and other individuals who lead the programs and their value in the negotiations.

Council members agreed whoever they hire as parks and recreation director should be a highly-qualified professional and discussion led to a possible cost of $250,000 a year to properly run the park.

“It's got to be somebody who can do the marketing, can understand the budget, run the financials and knows how to run these leagues,” said Hayes.

Volunteers and donations, as well as local groups seeking fund-raising events were suggested.

Owens made it clear he is resolved to see this park renovated, managed, maintained and utilized well.

“I can tell you we are going to have somebody high caliber in that position,” said Owens. “We want this to be successful in a bad, bad way. Again, we are putting our name on three and a half million dollars.”

The council will discuss the outcome of the Jan. 18 meeting with community sports and recreation leaders at its next council meeting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 15.

 
 

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