The Exponent Telegram
Sunday, April 5, 2009
by Kara Moore
Genesis Partners’ vision for the recreational complex at
Charles Pointe involves more than just ball fields.
Ultimately, the master plan calls for a YMCA beside the city
park and a school, amphitheater and church nearby.
But one thing at a time.
For now, Bridgeport is preparing to do its part by building
a 40-acre municipal park that is slated to include two full-sized and two youth
league-sized baseball fields in a wagon-wheel configuration, two additional
softball fields, a football stadium with artificial turf, a track, parking
areas, walking trails and a picnic area, plus concessions, lights and
The developers of Charles Pointe, Genesis Partners, created
the concept drawing for the park.
Harrison County owns the land and leases it to Genesis
Partners, which in turn subleases it to the city of Bridgeport, according to Harrison County
Commissioner Ron Watson.
All three entities agreed to the park’s scope and basic
“The concept was originally designed by Charles Pointe
people, and it was approved and commented upon by the county,” Mayor Jim
Christie said that design is exactly what the city wants to
build, but it will have to determine what is feasible once the land has been
The city originally planned to build the park over a series
of phases, paying as the city’s budget would allow. Council has set aside $1.2 million to start
The park’s total cost estimate isn’t in yet, but Christie
said $6 million has been floated as an early “guesstimate.”
Now that the city is poised to begin the first part of the
work, officials are weighing whether the approach of building in phases or all
at once makes the most sense.
“There could be big cost savings by doing the dirt work all
at once,” Bridgeport City Manager Kim Haws said. “It saves mobilization costs as well as fuel
Mobilization cost is the price of getting the equipment to
And Haws said doing the whole project all at once would mean
doing it in “today’s dollars.”
But the other major advantage of building the park in one
phase, according to Christie, is that it would be completed and available for
Part of the vision for the park is that it would attract
athletic tournaments to the area, according to Christie and Genesis Partners’
“If we do it right, it could act as a huge economic engine
for tournaments and things like that in the summer,” Corton said.
That would mean business for hotels and restaurants,
according to Corton.
But the total cost of the project is more than this year’s
budget, so the city would have to look elsewhere to pay for it.
The city could take on debt in the form of bonds to pay for
the project and seek grant funding.
officials have used bond money to pay for other projects, but Christie said
they’ve consistently paid them off early.
The city recently sold bonds to pay for a new public safety
building at the United
site across Interstate 79 from Charles Pointe.
Christie said Bridgeport City Council can budget several
hundred thousand dollars each year and complete the park in phases, paying as
they go, or the city can use a bond to build it now and set aside the same
amount of money each year to pay it back in the same time frame.
But Christie said he hasn’t yet decided which approach is
more prudent. That’ll depend on the
numbers, he said.
City Recorder Mario Blount said he sees three reasons to
complete the park all at once: cost
savings, quicker availability for use and aesthetics.
Blount pointed out that if the park is completed piecemeal,
the concrete and asphalt won’t match, and the unfinished parts of the park will
be an eyesore next to the finished parts.
And like Haws and Christie, he said the project will be
cheaper if it’s done all at once.