City, schools discuss stadium

By Cecilia Fox -

TIPP CITY — The Tipp City council and board of education met Monday night in a joint work session to discuss the stadium.

The two groups also touched on short-term goals for the city and the schools and the future of the Broadway Elementary School site.

The board and council again discussed the possibility of a ground lease agreement for the city-owned stadium property, so that the district could leverage that property to obtain financing for phase two of the project. The next phase or phases of the project would include replacing the stands and constructing new locker rooms, bathrooms and concessions.

Board President Sam Spano said the district just wants to keep its funding options open. He said he would like the city and the schools to continue discussion on the proposal, noting that it isn’t something that needs to be decided right away.

“I’m just looking for a number of options for the district,” he said.

Council President Katelyn Berbach reiterated that she does not support a lease agreement. She cited not only concerns about what might happen should the district default on the loan, but also that the proposed plan could be seen as “circumventing the voters.”

City Manager Tim Eggleston said the city had discussed or committed to helping with the project in several ways, including tree removal, water and sewer line extension and removing the lighting.

Berbach said there has been some talk of “fronting the cost of the bathrooms.” She noted that park visitors would also use the new restrooms year-round.

“And then whoever — Tipp Pride, you guys — pay us back,” she said. “Obviously, we would put some stipulations on that, but it is something that we have discussed.”

The groups also mentioned the possibility of the district purchasing the stadium.

Berbach also expressed concerns about that option and said she thought council would have to wait and see what future phases of the project look like before “entertaining the idea of selling the property.”

The $1.1 million first phase of the project was approved by the school board in February. The nonprofit Tipp Pride Association (TPA) is working to raise money for the project privately. The district committed to spending no taxpayer money on the project and the board said Monday night that academic facilities take precedence.

Board members said they have faith in TPA’s ability to raise funds for the stadium.

The first phases was funded with a combination of funds raised by TPA and Premier Health funds the schools receive for athletic purposes.

According to Director of Services Gary Pfister, who updated both groups on work at the stadium, “Great progress has been made in the last three weeks.”

Much of the work needed to complete the turf field has been completed. Pfister estimated the the first phase could be complete by the end of the month.

“It’s stayed on budget and on time,” he said.

By Cecilia Fox

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Reach Cecilia Fox at