Iota area recreation millage would make sports complex a reality

IOTA - Voters in Wards 4 and 7 of Acadia Parish will go to the polls Saturday, October 2 to vote on a new four mill recreation district tax for construction, maintenance and operation of a sports complex in Iota and for use by children in the northwest area of the parish

Over 500 children play sports in the Northwest Acadia parish area including Iota, Evangeline, and Egan, and their present sports facility near Iota need to be replaced. The recreation department has been graciously allowed to use the fields near St. Francis Elementary School in Iota for the past twenty-five years.

But, the kids need a new ballpark. Enter local businessman B.I. Moody, III, who has offered to donate twenty-four acres of farmland just south of the church’s present athletic fields for the new ballpark. “Moody-Amy Park” will include six baseball fields and room for numerous football and soccer fields, and will be constructed with a combination of federal and state grant money, government funding, and donations from area businesses.

“We tried for years to get this park built without passing a recreation tax, but we have finally come to the conclusion that the recreation district tax is the only way this will work- and we know that the people in the area don’t mind paying this little bit each year to see that the kids have a place to play. We’ve talked to many people in the area, and have had universal support for this project,” said Wilbur Parker, chairman of the Northwest Acadia Recreation District

The proposed recreation tax will be a minimal amount, and will provide for all expenses related to the ongoing operations at the park, including maintenance, grass cutting, utilities, and operating the park on a day to day basis. A homeowner in the northwest Acadia Parish area who falls under the homestead exemption whose home is assessed at $100,000 would pay $10 per year for the recreation district once the 4 mil tax is passed. A similar home assessed at $200,000 would pay $50 per year for the recreation district at the 4 mil rate.

Acadia Parish Sheriff’s Department Major Keith Latiola has been a recreation volunteer for many years, and is the president of a non-profit corporation set up to manage the new park. Northwest Acadia Sports Authority, Inc. will be responsible for the day-to-day activities at the facility, and will report to the Acadia Parish Police Jury, which will own the land and improvements.

“The kids need a place, and the church has been very nice to let us use their land for so long now for youth sports. But we need to be aware of church’s future need to use their property for other things, like expanding their cemetery, and we need to build a new park. Mr. Moody has been very generous in offering this land just across the bayou from the present park, and after looking at many alternatives, this recreation district is really the only way to get this park built,” said Latiola.

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