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Abbeville, Quality Sports Authority finalize agreement

Council votes, 3-2

After weeks of discussion and negotiation, the City of Abbeville and Quality Sports Authority (QSA) are now partners in youth recreation.
The Abbeville City Council voted 3-2 during its regular meeting Tuesday to allow Mayor Mark Piazza to execute a contract with QSA for outsourcing of the management of the city’s youth recreation program.
Councilman Francis Touchet Jr. made a motion for the move. Councilman Brady Broussard Jr. provided a second.
Councilman Wayne Landry joined Broussard and Touchet by voting in favor of the agreement. Landry did qualify his vote.
“For various reasons we have been going through hoops with this,” Landry said of a rec department that had four directors in six years. “Everyone knows the history of this. Right now I see that nothing is happening at the park.
“I am willing to give this a shot.”
Councilman Francis Plaisance and Councilman Louis Joe Hardy voted against the deal with QSA. Plaisance said his concern ultimately stems from children who may not be able to afford to participate.
“I am concerned that there may be some kids that are not going to be able to play,” Plaisance said. “I want this program to work. However, I am concerned about kids being left out.”
A representative from QSA who attended the council meeting on Feb. 1 told the council that kids who want to take part will not be left out.
The contract between the city and QSA is for three years. However, each side has an opt-out clause that can be exercised with a 90-day notice.
The city will pay QSA $75,000, which will be paid in quarterly installments. The city set a budget around $275,000 for the parks and recreation department in previous years. In return, QSA will handle scheduling of all games and tournaments. They will take care of fields during the season. The non-profit organization will also provide equipment and take care of the maintenance. QSA will also provide insurance coverage and security at its cost.
The use of fields at A.A. Comeaux Park by QSA will be secondary to agreements already in place with Abbeville High, Harvest Time Christian Academy, Vermilion Catholic and American Legion for baseball as well as the Vermilion Football League.
The city will keep its recreation board intact. Touchet said he wants QSA’s board to work closely with the city’s board. Touchet volunteered to serve on QSA’s board as a liaison.
“We need to keep a close eye on this,” Touchet said. “We need to make sure that our rec board and their board are looking out for the best interest of the kids in Abbeville.”
Touchet said he feels this plan will be the best opportunity to return the park to a time when it was packed in the spring and summer.
“I want to see the lights on and the parking lots full,” he said.

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