03/18 Youth Sports Complex & Community Park Discussion


Meeting Notice And Background

WHAT: Youth Sports Complex and Community Park Discussion – Phase 1
WHERE: Town Hall
DATE: March 18th
TIME: 5:30pm
WHO: Town Council and Park Board

On March 18 at 5:30 PM, the Town Council and Park Board will meet in a joint session in the Town Hall Council Room to discuss next steps for the Youth Sports Complex and Community Park. This project’s phase 1 current estimated cost is approx. $15 million dollars.

During Thursday’s Town Council meeting (03/11), the Council acknowledged there was significant pushback from town residents once the details (not made available at the original 12/17/2020 meeting) were made known. 

Travis Tschaenn’s direct quote from the 03/11 town council meeting:

“We have received a number of emails and I would say that on my three years on council I have received more emails over the last few days on one project then the entirety of being on the council. And it is about 50-50 split on people that are against and people that are for and the people that are against have some good points and I think we have not done a good job of being transparent enough to discuss the funding issues of it and how it does impact not just little league families but families of the community as a whole and I think it is our job not to govern to groups but to our entire community.”

The athletic programs benefiting from phase one of the project, Brownsburg Little League and Brownsburg Girls Softball, agreed to answer a series of questions asked by the council.  Those questions and additional topics will be discussed during the joint session.

Residents are invited to attend the meeting to learn more about the project and provide their input.

If you are unable to attend, please send an email containing your thoughts to towncouncil@brownsburg.org and parkboard@brownsburg.org ask that your email is read into the public record during the meeting.

Youth Sports Complex Project Update

Artist Concept of Proposed Ball Field and Facilities

March 11th 2021 
Town Council Meeting “Youth Field Sports Complex Discussion Excerpts”

The March 18th meeting is required to address community concerns. Here are excepts from the Town council’s dialing leading up to council scheduling the meeting:

Brian Jessen: “First off Travis I want to thank you for the conversations we have had over the last year if not three years every time you have updated me with where this project is we have a responsibility to keep up with the projects going on in town to sit back and say we need two more weeks to get a little more information two of you have had a year and Travis you have had a couple of years-these projects have been going on since the day you walked in the office”.

Travis Tschaenn:  “Hold on let me interject here when I heard about this project when I started on council the very first thing, I heard about this project was not 15.5 million dollars—it was 750 to a million dollars and that was the only thing we were asked for as a town was to get utilities (Brian tries to interject) hold on -hold on…”

Brian Jessen: “The council was presented this project that rendering I sat in this room with members of the audience out there from little league that showed us that rendering and gave us an idea of what the cost of this project was going to be.”

Travis Tschaenn:  “That wasn’t what I was saying-what I said is when we were originally talking about this project 2.5 years ago -it was a million dollars at most now I did say yes in December to fifteen million dollars but you know we did not have a whole lot of push back from the community so I want to make sure we are as transparent as possible when I am just trying to do our due diligence for all of our residents I am not saying no to the project I want to make that very clear I am not saying no tonight that’s not it but I want to make sure we are as transparent as possible like two weeks from now like I haven’t decided I am going to vote yes or no at this moment but I want to make sure we are transparent as possible honestly which way am I leaning I am leaning toward yes for this project like I did in December that I am as transparent as possible and our town yells at us all the time that we are not transparent enough we are not transparent enough this year we are seeing a theme here but that is what I am trying to do be transparent as possible we are having numerous more meetings we are trying to get as much information out to the public as we possibly can…”

Editor’s note — One has to question Travis Tschaenn’s judgement noted above, where Travis readily admits to voting on a resolution (12/17/2020) with little hesitation, despite the project’s cost ballooning 15 times it’s original cost estimates. 

In addition, Travis Tschaenn’s call for transparency in the March 11th 2021 Town Council meeting is in the view of this publication, too little, too late. Where were his transparency and fiscal concerns in 2020?  

>> Click Here << for 2020 03 11 Project Update by Travis Tranbarger, Director Parks and Recreation

>> Click Here << for 2020 03 11 EDIT projections revenue vs expenses from bakertilly 

BACKGROUND — When we last left the Brownsburg Little League in 2017, an area resident was quoted as saying ” I think the town center is a good idea, but it would have been planned a little better without brushing the Little League aside. ” 

Since that time The Cincinnati Reds Caravan and Tucker Barnhart stopped by in 2018 to show their continued support for the program.  They stopped by again in January 2020 to celebrate the partnership between Andy Mohr and the Brownsburg Little League.

Between 2017 and 2019  number of significant changes took place. The Town of Brownsburg employed a new Town Manager in Jeff Eder.  Brownsburg Little League and Girl’s Softball leagues were staffed with new executive volunteers. This new environment led Dr. Jim Snapp to explore solving multiple age old problems. Only Dr. Snapp had the resources to get people to look beyond their own self interest, set aside past differences, and collaborate in pursuit of a common goal: a multipurpose Youth Sports Athletic Field. A complex when completed would benefit all manner of private youth sports and activities.

Fast-forward to late in the fourth quarter of 2019.  Dr. Snapp began exploratorily outreach to the aforementioned parties.  The negotiations between all parties (Town of Brownsburg, Brownsburg Community School Corporation, Brownsburg Baseball Little League, and Brownsburg Girls Softball) continued at a measured pace early into the 2nd quarter of 2020.   Negotiations were at times challenging, as each major hurdle was surmounted all parties were able to visualize the Youth Sports Field framework which we see today.

This is the only conceptual drawing available to the town council at the time of their vote to proceed 12/17/2020.

What Each Party Stands to Gain From
The Current Design & Approach

Brownsburg School Corporation

• Obtain possession of the largest remaining chunk of “under developed” land bordering the high-school campus, the current Brownsburg Girls Softball Fields.  

• Relinquish ownership and recover some cost of a property they no longer plan to use.

Brownsburg Little League

• They are “made whole” after the legal theft of their facilities by the Town of Brownsburg. Their program is no longer spread across town on fields leased from the BCSC or other entities. 

• It will provide state of the art facilities to attract travel ball tournaments.

• Access to otherwise unavailable public funding for private use.

• Creation of a facility better than their financial circumstances would otherwise permit.

Brownsburg Girls Softball

• They gain modernized fields adjacent to the BBLL fields, and other youth sports in later phases of the development.

• Access to otherwise unavailable public funding for private use.

• Creation of a facility better than their financial circumstances would otherwise permit.

Town of Brownsburg

• Redemption in the mind of the public at the current price of $15mil+ for the aforementioned theft of BBLL facilities. 

• Centralized location for many other youth sports if later phases are approved. 

• A youth sports amenity that aligns with those offered by other communities. 

• The potential opportunity at a future date to utilize the remainder of Arbuckle Acres for other than park purposes once all phases of the proposed design are constructed;  as all existing sporting activities will have been located to this location. Reducing public outcry. 

• Access to 106+ acres adjacent to the planned Ronald Reagan Parkway to 1000N. Only 40 +/- have been designated as youth sports facility. 

• Given the town’s prior actions consuming portions of Arbuckle Acres, portions of this site may be used to spark development upon completion of the next section of the Reagan Parkway. 

• A potential opportunity to expedite delivering infrastructure in the name of the youth facility (water, sewer, wider roads, etc.). This approach is more palatable to the community than extending these services at taxpayer expense for commercial development. 

• As yet unmeasured incremental economic impact to Brownsburg travel, hospitality and restaurant industries in the event travel tournaments are hosted.


What is clear to the casual observer, a decision was made by the town council NOT to release ANY details regarding this project until the final town council meeting held on December 17th 2020. This action is at odds with the campaign promises made by incoming council members, and well as senior members whose actions once again show, they provide only “lip service” to the word TRANSPARENCY.

The 2020 council made a very significant decision based on very limited information  
>> Click Here << to view the portion of the Town Council Packet from 12/17/2020. The Sentinel suggests the reader download and closely review the material and level of detail the council was presented at the time of their vote to proceed.

Many members of the public who closely watch town council proceedings expressed outrage on 12/17/2020 that this plan had received NO public scrutiny prior to the meeting. Dennis Dawes and others noted this concept had been discussed for many years.  We agree the concept has been discussed publicly for that duration.

We DO NOT agree, this exact solution– the proforma, limited details on it’s financial underpinnings at the time of the decision and the significant reliance on various public funds has EVER been discussed previously in public until the aforementioned meeting.

We question the significant reliance on the use of very limited public funds for this project.  Is this project a “want” or a “need”?

We agree with other members of the Town Council Jeff Gracey in 2020 & 2021, and Ben Lacey (Dennis Dawes replacement) in 2021. This is a significant commitment of the entire town’s limited tax (and debt) resources (an estimated $15mil at present) and even scarcer economic development monies; at a time where a 67% sewer rate increase is under consideration. >> Click Here << for bakertilly’s 2021 Municipal Sewage Works Financing Analysis report to town council.   Also, a discussion to increase the water rates will likely return to the council’s agenda in 2021 or 2022 as increases in water rates were discussed and tabled in 2019 & 2020. 


• Negotiations between parties were allegedly wrapped up in August 2020. Why was there no mention in the 2021 budget of any estimated expenditures? The 2021 budget was presented to Town Council and the public on 09/24/2020. This lack of budgetary planning also runs counter to Travis Tschaenn, Matt Simpson, and Brian Jessen campaign promises of improved transparency and fiscal restraint.

• If this project as currently presented was such a great idea, why withhold ANY details regarding it’s existence from the public until the time of the vote by the 2020 town council? Clearly there was plenty of time to engage the public before Dec. 17th 2020.

• Why is there a significant reliance on public monies EDIT Funds (Economic Development Income Tax), Issuing of Bonds, other town instruments and services?  These are all private non-profit entities.  

Is this project fiscally solvent without the use of public monies? If so, when?

• Why were the details related to sponsorships not accompanied with some form of letters of intent including general donation amounts? 

• Where is the market analysis to quantify and support what many assert – this project will have a positive economic impact on travel, hospitality and restaurant industries? Is this the best use of limited economic development dollars? 

• Why on March 11th did both leagues have to provide answers to town council questions by March 18th? 

• Why was this information not provided at the March 11th meeting? 

• Why were these details not provided by both organizations earlier? 

• Why did the town council not require the aforementioned information PRIOR to their Dec 17, 2020 vote? Why did it take public outcry to all the above items, for the town council’s to take action?

• Have members of the Brownsburg Chamber of Commerce who wrote a letter in support of this project, pledged any monies in support of it’s construction?

• And to those who say too many commitments made and too much money has been spent to back out now;  let this publication remind you of the years expended and monies greater than $500K spent on the a community recreation center an item cancelled by the 2020 town council and ranked in statistically valid community surveys in the top 5 ( well above the amenities discussed in this article ).


This article should in no way be interpreted as diminishing the value of these and future programs. Quite the reverse — No one is denying the impact these programs have on the lives of our youth, players, coaches, parents, support staff, sponsors, any and all who support or otherwise contribute to the success of these programs.

This is one of our publication’s founding principles — The lack of transparency in any government action immediately raises suspicion.  Given the significant absence in transparency and the amount of monies involved, forces this publication to bring this matter to your attention.

Materials Referenced in this Article:

>> Click Here << – For all portions of the Town Council Packet from 12/17/2020 related to this article.

>> Click Here << – bakertilly’s 2020 02 25 Municipal Sewage Works Financing Analysis Report

>> Click Here << for 2020 03 11 Project Update Presented by Travis Tranbarger, Director Parks and Recreation

>> Click Here << for 2020 03 11 EDIT projections revenue vs expenses from bakertilly 

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