Parks & Recreation wants to buy soccer complex

by Kate Evans

Morgan County Parks and Recreation Board president and Morgan County School Board president Aaron Close formally asked that the school board approve the sale of the Alex Rickli Recreation Complex to the Parks and Recreation Board for a nominal fee with the Morgan County Commission’s approval.

The request came at the October 2 school board meeting in an official letter from Close and the Parks and Recreation    Board so they can “continue the oversight and the enhancement of the facility in the upcoming future.”

Close told the school board that the Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously at their September 19 meeting to ask for the purchase of 9.8 acres at the U.S. 522 soccer complex from the school board on condition of the county commission’s approval of the purchase.

A formal letter was also going to the County Commissioners asking for their approval and bilateral agreement with the school board for Parks and Recreation’s purchase of the soccer complex.

Land history

The Morgan County Commission originally purchased the land for the soccer field complex in 2002 or 2004, Close said. The commission sold the facility to the Morgan County School Board for $1 in 2012 so the land could be eligible for a $200,000 brownfields clean-up grant. The site was closed in April, 2010 after shards of glass from crushed vehicles began surfacing in the soil.

An extensive site cleanup and soil remediation project was completed in the summer of 2017. Additional soccer fields, playground equipment and bio-retention ponds were added to the site before its grand opening in April.

With the remediation now completed, the school board buildings and ground committee had recently discussed returning ownership of the facility to the county commission or transferring ownership to another entity that could manage the facility if the commission didn’t want it back, Close said.

Suited for site management

Close felt that the Parks and Recreation Board could well oversee and maintain the soccer recreation complex since it’s comprised of nine members with three members each representing the County Commission, the Board of Education and the Town of Bath.

All three entities have a vested interest in the health and wellness of the community which the soccer recreation complex serves as a beautiful and safe multi-generational facility offering socialization, physical activity and mental relaxation for youth, families and individuals, Close said.

Close said that school board and County Commission members could call him with questions or concerns and they could set up a convenient time at a future meeting to review Parks and Recreation’s request.   Parks and Recreation director Dawn Beal could also be available to answer any further questions.