Sportsplex expansion

 The artist’s rendering of the plan for expansion of the New Albany Sportsplex shows an impressive project that will significantly upgrade the city’s recreational facilities.

Sam Creekmore of Creekmore Landscaping showed the plans and an accompanying video depiction of the project at the meeting of the Board of Aldermen last week.

The plans include five universal sized soccer fields, 14 regulation tennis courts as well as eight mini-courts, a small lake and water feature, a pavilion with offices, restrooms and concessions and 590 parking spaces.

The project occupies 40 acres across U.S. Highway 78 from the current Sportsplex. A separate entrance would reach the new facility from Bankhead Street.

The current soccer fields at the existing Sportsplex would be converted into four softball fields.

The board voted to put together a bid package and request bids for doing the grading and drainage work. 

The engineering estimate on the work is about $417,000, if city employees do some parts of the project. Officials expect the bids will come in under the estimate.

We think it is wise to get the bids and keep moving ahead on the project. The big issue ahead, however, is how the community is going to pay for it.

There is much uncertainty. Federal or state grant money may or may not be available. 

A strong private fundraising campaign by groups interested in soccer and tennis is expected to be conducted, but it not likely that the groups will be able to raise most of the money needed.

Even with the uncertainty, though, the board has taken the right step. Improving our quality-of-life facilities is important if the community is to grow and progress.