The Anderson-Dean Communty Park welcomed new board member Mike Riley as the most recent appoint by the county.
“Mike comes into the appointment with experience in working with programs at the park, and an overall passion for youth sports,” said Joni Horn, president of the Park Board. “For the past five years, he has overseen the Mercer County Youth Softball League and worked closely with park management to create a safe, accessible, and enjoyable experience for all girls in Mercer and surrounding counties.”
Riley’s background includes coaching within the league on and off for the last nine years, one of the Head Coaches for Boys’ Basketball at King Middle School and last year served as the Head Coach for the 7th-grade team and Assistant for the 8th-grade squad.
“He is very excited to take on this new challenge and wants to help bring new and creative opportunities to our beautiful park,” said Horn. “He hopes to assist in creating fair and equitable programming for all our citizens to enjoy.”
Riley also serves as the Program Development Manager for the Bluegrass Area Development District and serves as Board Support for the Bluegrass Workforce Innovation Board.
In other business:
• Commitments for fully funding the park have been made. Financials have been the hot topic for the park since COVID impact on their income stream with the cancellation of spring and most of summer sports. Funding from the city and county has been discussed at several community meetings since the restaurant tax has changed management. The park received a $10,000 check from the Harrodsburg Mercer County Tourist Commission as well as one from the City of Harrodsburg last week along with commitments of $92,000 from the commission and an additional $10,000 from the city.
“It was a bit confusing, but we have commitments now that fully fund the park from the tourist commission, the city and the county,” said Horn. “We can now move forward with our budget.”
• Larry Betterly, president of Mercer Youth Sports was asked to address the board before his 2020 season following a dramatic season last year. The board wanted assurances that bad behavior from parents or coaches would not be tolerated in this new season.
“We would be willing to help reiterate our expectations to the parents,” said Horn. “These kids are the future for the Mercer County Titans, as well, maybe we should call Coach David Buchanan and ask him to attend a parent meeting with us all.”
Betterly said COVID-19 is delaying his season and he doesn’t have a start date or the list of regulations for high contact sports.
“There are still a lot of unknowns,” said Betterly. “We are waiting until August 20 to hear from KHSAA.”
• Hiring a new director as soon as possible was decided by the board, originally all plans were delayed due to funding issues. The position has been vacant since May when Mark Byrant resigned. Financial difficulties had prevented the park from hiring a replacement.
“We have already interviewed four wonderful candidates for the position and we have two more scheduled for next week,” said Horn. “It will be a difficult decision since the applicants are so well qualified for the position.”
Finalizing the new bi-laws and benefit packages for the new director will need to be completed. A special called meeting will be announced once the applicants are narrowed down to three.
“We are ready to get someone in here,” said Horn. “Our concern was the uncertainty of our financials but now we can move forward.”
Asking employees back onto their regular schedules was also approved. Two regular employees have been limited to part time work since returning from furlough due to Covid-19. With tournaments and proper funding commitments the board decided to resume regular schedules for the employees through October.
•An air conditioning unit needs to be replaced for a concession stand building. Funds for replacement are limited.
“The city has offered to loan us a small unit to get us through,” said Horn. “Although we have the funds, I think we should hold off on spending them in case something happens, such as Covid cancelling the tournaments.”
The next regular scheduled meeting of the Anderson Dean Park Board will be held on Monday, Sept. 14, at noon.