Communication was flowing at a special called meeting between
the Versailles Town Council and members of the Ripley County
Soccer Club (RCSC) and Sports Complex Board on Wednesday, August
The meeting was the result of a front page article which appeared
in The Versailles Republican August 18 which reported
on the Versailles Town Council meeting.
Andi Richter, representing the soccer club began by referring
to the article where she said the newspaper only heard from
one side. She presented a Letter to the Editor, which was published
August 25 expressing the soccer clubs feelings on the
The soccer club wanted the special meeting so the newspaper
and the public could hear their side of the story.
Richter referred to the article saying, It looked like
we (RCSC) stole your money.
Town Council member Steve Mathes told those gathered that the
town never felt there was anything done on the part of the soccer
club or the sports complex board that was illegal.
After the initial town council meeting on August 11 the soccer
club paid the town $1,000 on August 12. At the special called
meeting on August 24 Richter gave the remaining proceeds to
the town. She said doing the concessions was a time consuming
monster and if she had known the money the soccer club
made there would be put back into the baseball fields, she would
have never volunteered her time. She noted that she understood
the proceeds would be put into a fund to help make the soccer
fields a reality at the sports complex. Right now there are
three baseball fields, a concession house with bathrooms, picnic
shelters, but no soccer fields.
Richter told the council she was hurt because the way it was
stated at the meeting it looked like she was withholding funds.
DeDe Fields, also a member of the RCSC said, Our image
has been hurt.
Richter said after they met with the town council on Monday,
August 8 they thought everything was okay. Then, after the article
appeared in The Versailles Republican, they found out the council
was not happy with what they had done, according to Richter.
She felt the town council shouldnt have said anything
about the soccer club unless they were at the meeting so both
sides could be heard. She admitted they were invited to the
public meeting, but couldnt attend. Fields pointed out
it was the same night as the open house at South Ripley.
The RCSC addressed the issue of the town saying 20 cases of
Pepsi had been thrown out. The soccer club contends that the
Pepsi products were from the year before and had nothing to
do with them running the concessions this past season.
Richter said they know they havent communicated with the
town council the way they should have, but she said the council
had not even appointed a sports complex board. Where is
your responsibility in the way things are running? she
asked the council.
Richter raised questions about initial monies that were meant
to purchase high quality topsoil for the fields. She said $33,000
was supposed to go toward the soccer fields and didnt
understand where it went.
Tim Wolff, also connected with the soccer club, said the topsoil
wasnt top quality and therefore has washed off the fields.
He said the fields werent installed properly in the first
place and he has spent a lot of time fixing them.
Wolff said people were forgetting about the focus of the whole
sports program in the county. Were doin it
for the kids, he expressed. He questioned padlocks on
the doors at the sports complex. He also addressed the problem
with handicap access.
An ordinance was established concerning the sports complex in
July of 2010. In the ordinance it stated there would be four
members on the board and they would be from the Town of Versailles.
There was some question as to whether the sports complex board
had ever been put into place by the council. But, Don Tankersley,
who was president of the sports complex board, was at the meeting.
Both Richter and Fields, along with John Brison, expressed their
feelings about people on the board only being from the Town
of Versailles. Attorney Larry Eaton said it was a state statute...legally,
this is how it is, he noted.
Richter said it was sad that she has worked a long time and
because she lives a half mile away from town cant serve
on the board. Fields said it was disappointing. She said, I
want our program (soccer) to be folded into the town.
The town had questioned the bill they received for mowing at
the sports complex at the regular meeting earlier in the month.
Wolff responded to that by saying he was told he would be paid
and to submit the bill to the town. There was some discussion
about whether the town had always paid for the sports park to
be mowed, with Meisberger saying it wasnt always paid.
She said she realizes times are different now and peoples
time is valuable.
The town council noted they have not appointed anyone yet for
next years park board, but will be doing so in the near
future. They will also appoint someone to run the sports complex.
Don Tankersley asked that Wolff be considered for the position.
Don Tankersley, former sports complex board president, spoke
saying, Everybody in this room is here to make it (sports
programs) go. He said he was proud to be part of getting
it going, and noted that Richter and Fields were great in their
efforts to further soccer. He apologized to both sides - the
soccer club and the town council - for the communication failure.
While they didnt have sit down meetings, the
group did get together, make decisions, and said they did the
best they could for the betterment of the kids involved in the
The problem of getting people to volunteer was raised with the
knowledge that volunteerism is a dying thing in many towns across
the country. Soccer club members told of their countless hours
Holzer said, No one is questioning your volunteerism.
He said he wants the soccer fields developed also, but it all
boils down to having the money to do so. He asked that they
keep their enthusiasm for the sports program.
Sue Meisberger, Versailles town council member noted that this
is a new venture for the town. You guys worked really
hard, she noted.
The meeting closed with Richter saying all the soccer games
are now held at Ohio Rod Products where the club pays $1,000
a year for mowing. The soccer club has applied and has been
given grant monies they have used to develop the fields at Ohio
Rod. Club members expressed their desire to be at the new sports
complex. We really, really want to come out there,
In the end the feeling in the room was that everyone had the
same goal in mind, to make the sports complex the best it can
be for the kids in the area.
The goal from the perspective of town council member Steve Mathes
was that everyone would feel better when they left the meeting
and questions would be answered.
The goal from the perspective of the soccer club was that the
public would know they hadnt done anything illegal and
were acting in the best interest of the soccer club participants.
All were in agreement that more volunteers are needed to keep
the programs running smoothly.