Youngsville approves bidding for sports complex

Bidding for the long-awaited multipurpose sports complex is scheduled to take place in October, the Youngsville City Council decided Thursday night.

Three members of the Youngsville City Council voted to move forward with bidding for the full $6.6 million proposed project as opposed to three scaled-down models presented at Thursday meeting. Two members of the council did not attend the meeting.

Architect Mark Lalande presented three scaled-down models to the council that would eliminate approximately $2 million from the project’s cost.

Two of the features eliminated in the scaled-down models were a basketball court and the administration building.

Ultimately, the council voted to go with the full project, which will include two basketball courts, a multipurpose recreation center and administration building.

“They had to determine what their budget was,” Lalande said. “When we do a project, we don’t produce a one-shot deal. We create systematic options. Today, they authorized me to go forward with the full scope.”

Some of the funding is coming from a 1-cent sales tax voters approved in 2011.

The complex as planned will also feature baseball fields, soccer fields and basketball courts as well as a playground, tennis courts and recreation center.

“Ultimately, I hoped they’d build the whole thing,” Youngsville Mayor Wilson Viator said. “I really just wanted two basketball courts. I think they did the right thing in doing the whole ball of wax. We’ll make it happen.”

Councilwoman Dianne McClelland said the recreation center should be the focal point of the project.

“I think the community will be able to enjoy the rec center and that will be the hub of the complex,” McClelland said. “It will provide many more activities for the community than the baseball fields or tennis courts.”

Two alternate plans were also approved, but they will only be used if the funding falls short.

The first alternate plan would eliminate the administration building.

If even less money is raised, the second alternative plan would be used, eliminating the administration building and switching the parking lot from asphalt to limestone.

According to Lalande, the alternate plans had to be approved.

“The city of Youngsville will come through,” Viator said. “They started by voting on the 1-percent sales tax. They said, ‘This is what we want and we are willing to spend the money to make it happen.’ We are going to give the people what they want.”

Both Lalande and Viator said, if all goes as planned, the complex should be completed by summer 2014.