There is a town board meeting tonight at 6:30pm – the pre-meeting starts at 5pm. You can view the agenda or download the full agenda packet here. You can watch a live stream of tonight’s meeting at the town’s Ustream page here. I can’t cover every agenda item so I always encourage residents to review these agendas and discuss any items of interest with the mayor or a board member because even a single motivated resident can make a difference on how the votes turn out on some of these items.
Tonight’s agenda is light, but I did want to comment on one item.
– Item B. Consider approving first amendment to the Carolina Rapids agreement. Carolina Rapids (formerly known as the North Meck Soccer Club) is based out of Cornelius and offers youth and adult soccer leagues to Huntersville and non-Huntersville residents. Carolina Rapids is in the 9th year of a ten year contract with the town for field usage at Barry Park – the current contract ends in August 2018. Barry Park is the large park/soccer fields on the west side of Huntersville beside Barnette Elementary. The proposed amendment to be voted on tonight would extend Carolina Rapids’ use of Barry Park for another ten years until August 2028.
I had three questions upon review of this agenda item: why is the board set to vote on an amendment to a contract sixteen months before it ends; is it really prudent to enter into a long term contract with a single business given the continual growth of youth sports leagues in this area; and has the town requested or received bids for field usage from any other soccer leagues besides Carolina Rapids?
The Parks and Rec committee voted 7-1 to approve the recommendation to amend the existing agreement during its June 15, 2016 meeting. There was no discussion of other bids in the minutes from this meeting. I’d welcome any feedback from any PRC members from that time regarding why they chose to vote to approve this amendment and whether any discussion of other bids took place.
I criticized the prior town board for rushing through the renewal of the management contract for HFFA before an election when that contract didn’t end for approximately another 8 months. Maybe a member of the current board can explain why they shouldn’t be subjected to the same criticism if they vote tonight to approve a renewal/amendment of the Carolina Rapids contract sixteen months before it ends.
This town board recently did the right thing by asking for bids on the management contract of the HFFA. Why wouldn’t the same logic apply when deciding whether to sign a long term agreement for “management” of the soccer fields at Barry Park? Youth sports is big business, to be sure at least one other area soccer league would be interested in submitting a bid for long term usage of the valuable asset managed by Huntersville Parks and Rec.