by Dennis Dalman
For the third consecutive year, the Sartell City Council approved an athletic-fields maintenance contract among the city, Pinecone Central Park Association, the Sartell-St. Stephen school district and ProFields LLC.
The council approved the contract unanimously at its April 23 meeting.
Jason Mathiasen, a member of the PCPA Board of Directors, updated the council on work being done on fields in Sartell.
The city’s share of the contract cost is $19,800, same as last year; the school district’s share is $21,000; and the PCPA’s total is $41,700. In addition, leasing fees from the private golf course on Sartell property will be given twice a year, as the fees become available, to the PCPA for recreational-field repairs. The council also approved that transfer of leasing fees at its April 23 meeting.
Council member David Peterson, though he is in favor of the contract agreements, said he thinks the city’s “recreation” funds should be extended in the future for use in more than just recreational fields, such as for a skating park or the dog park.
Mathiasen said the PCPA Board has discussed exactly that – extending its work for other recreational uses, including possibly a water feature at the dog park, which is in Pinecone Central Park.
The maintenance contract approved by the council will make possible maintenance of recreational fields in the city, including those of the school district. Although city staff will mow the fields, a licensed expert (ProFields) will apply chemicals and nutrients to the turf as well as other highly technical forms of maintenance.
Other field work will include fencing repairs, erosion control, adding some drain-tiling and renovating some soccer fields.
The maintenance partnership among the four entities is a way to dovetail necessary upkeep and repairs to the fields – avoiding duplications and keeping all the entities apprised of the overall plans.
Council member Ryan Fitzthum thanked Mathiasen and Mike Spanier, along with the PCPA members, for their “fantastic work for the community.”
Mathiasen said the PCPA has succeeded in raising $1.2 million for field improvements that will begin this week. The first, he noted, is construction of a new intermediate baseball field at Pinecone Central Park; the second is to prepare the ground for a second softball field in Pinecone; and the third, to begin in late July, is a total reconstruction of Champion Field.
Council member Mike Chisum asked Mathiasen why Pinecone Central Park is annually plagued with drainage problems. Mathiasen said that has been a problem since the fields were constructed due to the nature of the soil at Pinecone. The PCPA examined all solutions, he said. One option was to remove most of the topsoil, but that would cost $100,000 just for two sports fields. The other option was to install drainage-tile systems. At first, they were installed to see if they would work. The drainage-tile method has led to significant improvements, Mathiasen noted.