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Metro Parks Newsroom

Additional corporate sponsors step up to share lighting expenses

Thursday April 3, 2008

Fund will provide one-year bridge to cover electric costs

Mayor Jerry Abramson has signed a full roster of local corporate sponsors who will provide one-time funding to cover electric bills at Louisville Metro Parks fields used by youth leagues.

Abramson has collected pledges of more than $65,000 from leading Louisville companies to help leagues pay their LG&E bills for the rest of the calendar year, giving teams more time to determine ways to pay their own electric costs next year. The contributors are:

  • PNC Bank
  • National City Bank
  • Fifth Third Bank
  • Hillerich & Bradsby
  • BB&T
  • Central Bank
  • King Southern Bank
  • Chase

“It’s great to have a team of corporate citizens who are literally willing to step up to the plate to ensure that youth leagues that don’t have the resources currently to pay all their bills can continue to play ball,” Abramson said.

Taxpayers have been subsidizing the cost of electricity – about $60,000 annually – for private leagues for many years. Metro Parks announced last month that it would require youth sports leagues to pay for the utilities they use on the ball fields and at concessions stands to help close the city’s $9.4 million budget shortfall.

Abramson said the dozen or so private organizations that sponsor soccer and baseball must begin paying for their electrical expenses. But the mayor agrees the timing of the policy change, which came after many had already collected fees from participants without factoring in added costs, is a hardship for some of the groups.

The money will be given to the Louisville Metro Parks Foundation, and youth leagues will submit their electric bills for reimbursement, said Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz. The foundation is a new non-profit organization that works to improve recreation opportunities for Metro Parks.

Metro Parks will work the leagues on ways to conserve energy – and therefore cut costs. Measures include not turning on the lights until they are needed and not leaving them on overnight.

For more information on the foundation, please e-mail Andrew Crocker.