Construction on Kokomo’s new ballpark near downtown may be in jeopardy, according to a Channel 6 report from Indianapolis stating the State of Indiana is in danger of losing millions of dollars in federal funding due to the construction of the baseball stadium in a flood-prone area of Kokomo.
The report by Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney states records show the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security sent letters within the last month to the City of Kokomo, telling them to stop construction on the site.
The report further states construction crews have continued to work on the $11.5 million project along the Wildcat Creek for the past several months despite official requests to halt work.
Mayor Greg Goodnight though said they have stopped working on those parcels mentioned.
“Until we get this issue resolved, we have stopped work on those lots,” he said Saturday.
“We believe when you look at and take agreement in its totality, we are in compliance.”
The City of Kokomo accepted federal dollars through the Hazard Mitigation Grant program for the project.
“It’s supposed to be kept a green space, and right now, that’s not occurring,” John Erickson, spokesman for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, told Kenney.
“We’re looking at options to bring the property back into compliance.”
The Channel 6 report states records show the federal government and IDHS are especially concerned about eight parcels in particular.
Goodnight also disputed the number of parcels in question.
“We’re only talking about lots that would be parking,” he said. “What we’re talking about is 3 or 4 small parcels out of 100 parcels of land and [FEMA] can’t provide the documentation on those parcels. Those other lots have nothing to do with the grant.”
According to the letter issued by IDHS on Nov. 24, FEMA is giving the City of Kokomo 60 days to correction the violations.
Goodnight said he’s confident there will be a resolution that will not cost the state future grant money.
Goodnight added, “the people we’re dealing with seem like they are willing to find a resolution. I’m optimistic.”
Going forward, the mayor said, “we have meetings scheduled and we’re moving along.”