Warren County may have moved a step closer to getting indoor tennis and ice rink facilities after action taken at Monday’s Warren County Fiscal Court meeting.

The five magistrates present at the meeting voted to approve a proposal from Nashville’s Lose & Associates consulting firm to conduct a feasibility study for both facilities.

Chris Kummer, director of the county’s parks and recreation department, said Lose & Associates had one of three proposals his department received. At $88,520, it was also the costliest, but Kummer recommended the company based on “evaluating which firm could ultimately produce the best product in the time frame requested.”

Kummer said the feasibility study – to be completed by the end of April or the first of May – will give magistrates the information they need to make decisions about whether to move ahead with the projects.

“The study will project whether or not the community will be able to support an ice rink and indoor tennis courts,” he said. “The study will look at viable locations and staffing costs and determine if there is interest in the two facilities. Citizen input will be a big part of the study.”

Lose & Associates, a 36-year-old firm, has developed master plans and construction documents for more than $400 million worth of parks and recreation facilities throughout the country and has done studies for centers in Hendersonville, Clarksville and Nashville in Tennessee.

That experience led Kummer to recommend Lose & Associates.

“It’s very expensive to build and maintain an ice rink or indoor tennis facility,” Kummer said. “We want to make sure any decision going forward is based on good information.”

Kummer said the study will look at the potential of drawing from surrounding communities and the prospect of partnerships with local businesses to help build one or both facilities.

Representatives from the Warren County Inline Hockey League and the Southern Kentucky Tennis Association have pushed for the study and for building the facilities, but Kummer wants more input before making a recommendation to the magistrates on a facility that could cost $10 million or more.

“I think there is a demand for both facilities,” he said. “But to what extent, I don’t know. It’s a whole lot better to get some data that will enable us to make a sound decision.”

In another recreation-related item, magistrates approved renewal of a joint use agreement between Living Hope Baptist Church and the parks department that will allow youth basketball teams to continue using the Living Hope gymnasium for practices and games for the next 24 months.

“That is a huge partnership for us,” Kummer said. “It will allow us to be able to have a place for 30 to 35 teams, both boys and girls, to practice and play games.”

Living Hope doesn’t charge for using the gym, Kummer said.

“They support us at no cost,” he said. “Their generosity is unbelievable.”

Magistrates also approved a request from the National Corvette Museum to spend $152,354 in Special Tourism Project Fund dollars for installation of electrical wiring around a two-mile portion of the NCM Motorsports Park track. That wiring will allow the track to install Christmas displays annually from mid-November through December.

The expenditure of funds generated by the county’s lodging tax had already been approved by the Bowling Green Area Convention & Visitors Bureau and will be considered Tuesday by the Bowling Green City Commission.

Katie Ellison, the museum’s marketing and communications manager, projects that the holiday lights display will be a good investment.

“We’ve been talking about it for a couple of years,” Ellison said. “We think it will be a good thing for the community and effective use of the motorsports park at a time that is normally slow.”

Ellison said the lights will be on a two-mile portion of the three-mile track. She said plans call for charging $20 per carload on weeknights and $25 per carload Fridays and Saturdays. The museum will rent the light display for $140,000 per season. Museum and CVB projections show the holiday lights making a profit of nearly $38,000 the first year, based on visitation estimates of 10,000 carloads.

Magistrates also approved spending $20,000 for the Operation P.R.I.D.E. project to re-plant various plants and flowers in the landscape beds along the Cemetery Road corridor.

Also approved was a $3,432 expense for Select Security to provide alarm monitoring and inspections for 2019 for the county parks department and the appointment of First District Magistrate Doug Gorman to the Operation P.R.I.D.E. board of directors. Gorman, who did not attend Monday’s meeting, replaces former Sixth District Magistrate Darrell Traughber.

Magistrates also heard from Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Greg Thomas and KYTC District 3 Chief Engineer Joe Plunk.

Thomas said the KYTC is in the second year of the data-driven Strategic Highway Investment Formula for Tomorrow process for setting priorities on road projects.

He said the SHIFT process is “about infrastructure and connecting people to jobs.”

He and Plunk said work on upgrading the William H. Natcher Parkway has progressed to the point that the old parkway signs should be coming down soon to make way for Interstate 165 signs.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.


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