The Fredericktown City Council voted Thursday to approve an intergovernmental agreement between Madison County and the city to fund a sports complex.
During the council’s Monday work session meeting, the board voted 3-2 against the sports complex, with one alderman absent. Shortly after the vote, a special meeting was scheduled to address the issue once more.
Fredericktown Mayor Kelly Korokis said the community had worked too hard on this and had come too far to give up. She said she was looking for a solution.
Members of the community filled city hall for the special meeting Thursday to show their support for the sports complex. Those in attendance included Madison County Presiding Commissioner Bob Mooney, Second District Commissioner Larry Kemp and First District Commissioner Tom Stephens who were present to sign the papers, making it official.
The council then voted 3-3, requiring Korokis to be the deciding vote. With her “yes” vote the ordinance passed and the city entered into the agreement with the county.
Voting “no” were Ward I Alderman Harold Thomas, Ward III Alderman Jim Miller and Ward III Alderman Loretta Brown. The “yes” votes were Ward II Alderman Rick Polete, Ward II Alderman Deena Ward and Ward I Alderman Paul Brown.
According to Mooney, the agreement will allocate $1 million in TIF money to the project which should carry it almost to phase II. The city will be obligated to pay the remainder of the cost as well as maintain the fields after they were completed.
“One thing about our council, they come from all different walks of life, and it shapes their thoughts and ideas and we respect that,” Korokis said. “So when we do have a disagreement there is still respect there, and whatever the outcome we support whatever it is.”
Mooney said the community began talking about the ball fields back in the late ’90s but talks became really serious when the county became involved about five and a half years ago.
“I am glad this has passed because it is going to be good for the community,” Mooney said.
With the vote split, Ward said she understood the concerns of the other aldermen but is confident in her decision.
“I understand the other aldermen’s concerns, I really do and I did take those into consideration when making my decision,” Ward said. “I guess I am on the naive side thinking ‘if we build it they will come.’ The way it was sent to me was that tournaments bring in a lot of outside people who will then come into town to shop and eat. I feel confident that we can complete the first two phases and we can maintain them and if it pans out the way they said then we should be able to continue moving forward.”
Sitting across the table from Ward is Loretta Brown who stuck to her “no” vote.
“They want to take money from all the other departments to help pay for this, and what if we have a disaster what would happen to the other departments,” Loretta Brown said. “That’s why I didn’t vote for it. We don’t have the money, and we don’t know where we are going to get it from.”
“It’s yet to see if I am on the right side or not,” Ward said. “It’s kind of hard to make decisions like that, I really feel in a way we are sitting out on faith to try and get the community behind it and make it work.”
The council also approved a bid from Clifton Excavating LLC for Phase I of the sports complex to begin work in the upcoming weeks.
“We are hoping to complete phase I by spring of 2019 but that depends on the weather and other factors,” Korokis said. “Phase I will include two softball and one baseball field with the plan to add two additional fields in phase II.”
Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at firstname.lastname@example.org