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New Park Board Removes Manager At Anderson-Dean

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Robert Moore
Herald Staff

The new board of directors at Anderson-Dean Community Park voted to terminate Jeremy Turpin as park director. The board also voted to hire Stephen Ransdell as the interim park director for 90 days. No reason was given for Turpin’s termination.

Turpin, an Anderson County native, was hired as park director at Anderson-Dean in August 2020.  “My first goal will be to clean up, renovate and get the park back to being one of the best parks in Kentucky,” Turpin told the Harrodsburg Herald at the time of his hiring. His employment was marked by the continuing struggle to keep the park’s aging infrastructure operating, most notably, the aquatics center. Maintenance issues kept the pool closed until July 2022, after being closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The next year, the pool reopened in May but was shut down a month later after it was learned the pool had lost a million gallons of water in its first week.

Ransdell was hired as assistant manager at the park in May 2022, largely to deal with pool maintenance issues.

Expenses at the park are split evenly between the City of Harrodsburg and Mercer County. In the last few months, the Harrodsburg City Commission and the Mercer County Fiscal Court have voted to reorganize the board, including changing board membership and revising the park bylaws. On Monday, Jan. 29, the new park board held their first meeting, with Judge Executive Sarah Steele and Mayor Bob Williams serving on the board, along with Daarik Gray, executive director of the Harrodsburg-Mercer County Tourist Commission, which has also made financial contributions to the park. The new park board elected board members Don Guay as chairman and Denise Horn Spencer as treasurer. Both Guay and Spencer had served as chairman and treasurer on the former park board.

During the meeting, members of the board questioned Turpin on how baseball and softball tournaments were managed, including financial accounting. Turpin said reporting was difficult because they often didn’t know who would be playing until the day of the game.

“When they change the field at the last minute, it’s hard to track,” said Guay.

“When there is no field rental, it looks like they’re playing for nothing,” Mayor Williams said.

Turpin said he would do a better job of making sure everything was properly recorded so the board could see who was exactly paying for what.

“I can break that down better,” Turpin said.

Spencer, the treasurer, also questioned Turpin why tournament promoters were not being charged deposits for use of the park’s facilities. Turpin said he was afraid charging deposits would cause promoters to go to other parks.

“If it’s weather-related, I understand,” Spencer said. “But if they don’t have enough teams, that’s on them.”

“We’re buying a lot of concessions, too,” Guay said. He said they could look at the contract to see if they could add a deposit for the park.

Turpin said they should talk with the organizers first.

“I don’t want them to leave us,” Turpin said.

At the meeting, Ransdell gave the board an update on repair work at the pool. In October 2023, the fiscal court, city commission and current park board of directors approved a $175,400 bid from American Leak Detection of Mount Washington for phase one of repairs to the pool. Ransdell told the new board that the contractors were nearly finished and were taking care of the remaining leaks at the pool. Once they received state approval, they would move on to the necessary electrical work.

“Everything is still ahead of schedule,” Ransdell said.

For the rest of the story,check out this week’s edition of the Harrodsburg Herald. Click here to subscribe.

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