Boards meet to discuss sports complex issue

Cathy May, Contributing Writer

Prior to the regular Versailles Town Board meeting on August 9, the Board met with the South Ripley School Board regarding the sports complex issue. Also attending were Superintendent Ted Ahaus, Attorney Larry Eaton and Clerk-Treasurer Ted Spurlock.

Superintendent Ahaus started the meeting by saying they were “caught off guard” by the proposal presented by Jerry Gilpin. [Editor’s note: Gilpin proposed putting a sports complex on land next to the South Ripley High School which the school is buying on contract]. Ahaus said Gilpin gave a five minute presentation to the school board and had no official capacity to make the presentation. “It was a more complex issue than he presented,” said Ahaus.

President of the Versailles Town Board Sue Meisberger said, “We have 50 acres at the lagoon that is no longer used. We have to drain the lagoons and clean up the property according to IDEM guidelines. So it is still an option.”

Ahaus explained the 30 acres they are buying from Grover Miller next to the school was purchased for future use by the school but without a specific need at the time. “Nothing in the present building project is planned for that land.”

“Most of our bus owners are seniors. One option is to use part of that land for a bus barn where we will eventually maintain all the buses. Maybe in the future the land where the Administrative Building is located becomes more valuable to the town and we would have to move it to that property,” said Ahaus.

“If we purchased the property with taxpayers money then turn around and lease it out long term for $1.00, some taxpayers might be upset about that,” continued Ahaus.

“It’s the town board’s responsibility to decide where the sports complex should go and tell the park board. Unless we have a request from this town board, we don't want to get in the middle. We don’t want to negotiate with an independent group,” said Ahaus.

Larry Eaton said, “I wouldn’t advise the town to put their assets on someone else’s land.”

Ahaus concluded by saying, “There is no one here that doesn’t want to see a sports complex. No one just threw up their hands and said no way to the proposal. We will certainly consider any proposal that comes directly from the town board.”