Future of Jeffersonville's Nachand Fieldhouse after racial slur reversed $800k donation
JEFFERSONVILLE, IN (WAVE) - John Schnatter's racial slur hit Jeffersonville hard. The day he admitted to using the n-word on a conference call, Mayor Mike Moore took Schnatter's name off a project he had pledged $800,000 to make happen.
Days later, Moore returned a $400,000 check to the disgraced Papa John's CEO. That money, plus an additional $400,000 from Schnatter, was designated for the renovation of Nachand Fieldhouse.
"Our project is going to continue with or without that check," Bill Burns, chairman of Save the Fieldhouse, said.
Burns said he is hopeful Moore's plan for new funds will work. Moore said he is requesting that the funds come from the redevelopment commission, where is on the board.
The commission's revenue comes from TIF dollars. The group has sufficient funds to donate $800,000, Moore said.
"I think that will be suitable for everyone," Jeffersonville Councilman Dustin White said. "Not spending tax payer's dollars, but money that redevelopment has generated over time through business deals."
White said he supports Moore's decision to denounce the donation. White is the councilman for District 1. The renovations to the fieldhouse, which is in his district, were budgeted at $1.8 million.
"That ($800,000) was a significant donation to our project," Burns said.
The project will continue its original time line, according to Burns. He said bids for phase two, interior renovations, will go out in the fall.
"We are anticipating starting phase two right after the first of the year," Burns said.
White said he has not heard any complaints from his constituents. He also said it's more than the money. The mayor's decision acknowledges history and civil rights.
"Having allies who are in the fight and who want to do the right thing at all times is important," White said.
Schnatter responded to Moore's actions in a written statement saying in part:
"This gym is special to me because it is close to my dad's old office and it serves kids in the community. However, I respect Mayor Moore and his decision."
The redevelopment commission will vote on whether to provide that funding at their monthly meeting at the end of July.
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