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City considers funds for fieldhouse operations

City officials are making funding plans for the operation of the NexusPark fieldhouse.

Columbus City Council has approved the first reading of three ordinances related to the project — an ordinance establishing a non-reverting fund for the fieldhouse, an ordinance appropriating $260,000 into this fund to pay employees and an updated salary ordinance that includes new positions for the facility.

Ordinances must be passed on two readings to be fully approved, and the council’s next meeting is Feb. 7.

The non-reverting fund will provide for operations, capital improvement, care and maintenance of the NexusPark fieldhouse. Parks Associate Director of Business Services Pam Harrell said that creating the fund will allow the city to track fieldhouse costs without these expenses getting mixed in with other parks funds.

“As long as a subsidy from tax dollars is provided to operate the new facility, both the Park and Recreation Board and City Council will approve this operating capital budgets for this facility,” she said. “Once this fund is self-sustaining, this fund will be treated like the parks non-reverting fund and only be approved by the Park and Recreation Board, as the revenues will be primarily rentals and user fees. Once the cash reserves have built up in this fund, it will be used for future operating and capital needs, similar to the Commons Fund.”

The additional appropriation ordinance, once fully approved, will appropriate $260,000 from the city’s general fund into the fieldhouse fund for administrative expenses. Brinegar explained that this will be used to pay salaries and benefits for fieldhouse employees once they are hired.

“For the positions, parks is not looking for any of them to start before the second quarter of this year, and most of them in the third quarter,” he added.

The new salary ordinance includes four positions related to the fieldhouse, a fieldhouse sports manager with a salary range of approximately $57,000 to $85,000, a fitness, health and wellness manager with a salary range of $57,000 to $85,000; a NexusPark maintenance supervisor with a salary range of $52,500 to almost $79,000 and an associate director of sports with a salary range of about $61,500-$92,000.

NexusPark is a joint effort between the city of Columbus and Columbus Regional Health to transform the former FairOaks Mall into a health, wellness and recreation center.

The development will include a 150,000-square-foot fieldhouse that is intended to be “a sports and events venue that will host a multitude of different types of sporting and non-sporting events,” including local, regional and state sports tournaments, as well as potentially hosting trade shows, conferences, graduation and large-scale community events, according to the project’s website.

Construction crews began pouring concrete for the footing of the fieldhouse in December. Officials expect steel for the fieldhouse structure to arrive in February, with putting up the steel structure tentatively expected sometime in March, said Mary Ferdon, the city’s director of administration and community development, in a previous interview.

In addition to the fieldhouse positions, the new salary ordinance also includes some corrections related to the number of parks maintenance and ground laborers and the department’s overtime amount, said Brinegar. There is also a change related to the planning department’s part-time positions.

Read More: City considers funds for fieldhouse operations

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