by Dennis Dalman
As part of an ongoing public-private partnership, the City of Sartell will release $795,000 in half-cent sales-tax funds to continue developments in Pinecone Central Park, which include parts of Phase 1.2 and Phase 1.3 projects.
On a vote of 4-0 (council member Sarah Jane Nicoll was not present), the city council approved that action at its Aug. 13 meeting. The city also approved spending $86,000 from the water fund for wellhouse upgrades and water piping to provide an adequate water supply to the site.
The city’s contribution is contingent upon funds raised by the Pinecone Central Park Association, a non-profit group of local people that has partnered with the city after Sartell spent $3.4 million in 2008 to buy the Sartell Golf Course, a 168-acre tract, for use as a park.
Gordy Meyer, a founding member of the Pinecone Central Park Initiative, presented to the council a thorough review of its fundraising efforts, completed park projects and the ones about to be done.
The association has $1.3 million in private donations, Meyer said. Those include collected cash, donor promises, in-kind donations and community volunteer labor and $80,000 in expected donations in the coming nine months. In addition, the association is hoping to receive one or more of the three substantial athletic-development grants for which it has applied.
Meyer said the following projects have been completed as Phase 1.1 development:
A road through the park and parking lot, both done by the city.
Major excavation, with 120,000 cubic yards of dirt moved for athletic field development; the sub-grade surface for two adult multi-purpose fields and two teen baseball fields, as well as an adult baseball field. The final grade surface has been completed on the youth baseball fields and four multi-purpose fields.
Phase 1.2, to be paid for by the city and the association, will include:
Addition of storm pipes and basins.
Irrigation and electrical.
Building of utility garage.
Final grading on two adult multi-purpose (soccer) fields.
Seeded or sodding on two adult and four youth multi-purpose (soccer) fields.
Construction of an entrance sign.
Fertilization and weed control.
Phase 1.3 will include:
Irrigation and installation of four youth baseball fields.
Final sodding of infields and outfields.
Safety netting/ball containment.
Installation of portable mounds, foul poles and bleachers.
Installation of scoreboards.
Landscaping and walkways.
Center pavilion construction.
Phase 1.4 will include:
Construction of concession stand and restrooms.
More landscaping site work.
Phases 1.5 and 1.6 will include:
Final outfield and infield seed and sod.
Final infield aggregate and grading.
Lighting for adult field.
Some Pinecone Central Park fields (the baseball ones) in Pinecone Central Park will be ready for play as early as summer of 2013. The multi-purpose fields will be ready in 2014. It takes time, Meyer said, to allow the grass to root and establish itself.
Council member Sandra Cordie asked Meyer if baseball fields would be used also for softball games. Yes, Meyer said, they will. Cordie and council member David Peterson said they were glad to hear that news because it would be difficult to support the park plan if it catered only to males and not females.
Meyer said a private concern has expressed interest in building a concession stand eventually. But until that time, a portable concessions operation will function at the athletic complex.
Meyer praised the wide support the association has received for Pinecone Central Park: businesses, individuals, community groups, in-kind work, donations of material and labor, grants and ongoing teamwork as well as city cooperation through the partnership.
“It’s time to finish this project and next year get some games played out there,” said council member Steve Hennes. “It’s a great use of sales-tax money for this community.”
Meyer said there is an estimated 60 baseball teams in Sartell of varying ages. Mayor Joe Perske said that number is encouraging vis a vis the field developments in the park. He also noted many of those team players have to go to other nearby cities to find fields on which to play.