The August meeting of the Anderson-Dean Community Park Board started off heated with community members and local soccer club coaches upset with the lack of communication and use of the soccer fields.
Park Board President Jason Tyler and Park Director Mark Bryant along with the rest of the board members talked with coaches of local soccer clubs, Storm Soccer Club in particular, about reserving field times for games and practices. Representatives John Perry and Bruce Moffett expressed their displeasure with the board. “We just want to work with the Anderson-Dean Park Board to resolve all the issues and to be able to have our teams play here,” said Perry.
Moffett, who coached and also has children who play on Storm, said Anderson-Dean is home for them. The community park is where they grew up and learned how to play the game.
“I was so heartbroken to find out that my son may not be able to train at Anderson-Dean any longer,” he said.
Moffett was told to contact an organization out of Lincoln County to schedule training time.
“That is why several parents attended the meeting on Monday. We did not come with contentious intent. We came, looking for, and will to help find a solution,” said Moffett.
Perry, who was Storm’s volunteer representative at the meeting, said he contacted Bryant via email and hoped to avoid such confusion moving forward. Perry received an email from Bryant stating that only the Kentucky United Club would be practicing and playing games this fall and spring at the park.
“I replied asking if there was any availability for our teams and I got no response,” said Perry. “Given that, and given that I had teams with Mercer resident players now being faced with the prospect of not being allowed access to their park for practice or games, I decided to attend the park board meeting. I hoped for a positive and constructive meeting.”
Board member Jack Mattingly said everyone needs to work together to get this resolved.
“We want to work with everybody,” said Mattingly.
Dr. Jeff Klosterman, whose son plays on Storm, said he had trouble getting in touch with Bryant.
“Any communication with the park director regarding leagues, practices and general questions is difficult at best. The director kept saying at the meeting how anyone can call him anytime, yet he is hard to reach,” he said.
Mayor Art Freeman expressed his displeasure with the board and the citizens’ argument, which received applause.
“This is embarrassing to me and this needs to be resolved quickly,” said Freeman. “Something is wrong. I don’t know if it’s the management or the board, but I’m pretty disturbed by this conversation. We need to be fair. When we got kids living in this subdivision that have to drive somewhere else to practice, that’s not right. This is a community park.”
Perry said he was inspired by Mayor Freeman’s comments in support of the youth and insisting that the board work together to make opportunity for the kids to play at Anderson-Dean.
“While I think the meeting’s tone and demeanor was unfortunate from the start, I feel some progress was made,” said Perry.
Moffett said he was also happy to hear Freeman’s approach.
“The park has plenty of room and is one of the nicest around. All Mercer County residents should be able to enjoy the amenities, as we share what Mercer County has to offer the surrounding areas.”
Moffett said he was happy with the outcome and is looking forward to training with his team and working with the board in the future.
Bryant and Perry said that they will work together for future practice times and even scheduling games in the spring of 2020.
Tyler and Bryant said that if an issue like this comes up again, community members should contact the board. A few expressed the need for the board to update their website for contact information. Bryant said he is in the process of getting the website updated and up and running.
Shannon Murray, a Mercer County resident, asked the park board about the back stop issue at the softball fields. Murray was also hit by a softball in the bleachers, something he said is a huge concern.
“I was hit with a ball and I’m surprised it hasn’t happened more often,” said Murray. “It’s only a matter of time before someone, someone’s child or an elderly person, gets seriously injured. Safety should be the number one concern.”
Murray said he addressed the issue to Bryant last fall.
“I talked to Mark in person about it and a year later, nothing has been done,” said Murray. “The lack of safety and communication is my main issue.”
Tyler said the backstop has been on the project list for the board. Tyler said the issue should be resolved in less than a year.
“We have to wait until the funding comes,” said Tyler.
The board talked about putting up temporary netting until the backstops are finished, but that discussion is still in its early stages.
Another big issue discussed was smoking around the pool area of the park. A motion was made by David Murphy to post no smoking signs inside the fence of the pool area. The motion was seconded by Truman Bartleson. This is based on Bryant’s meeting with the Mercer County Fiscal Court. The board is also in the early stages of talking about banning tobacco around the park.
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