Blaine Park Board gets field relocation, curling facilty update

by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

Blaine Park Board commissioners received an Aquatore Park Field No. 1 replacement update and Fogerty Curling Rink status report at their Feb. 28 meeting.

This preliminary site and utility plan shows the general building and parking lot location for a proposed $3.2 million curling facility next to Fogety Arena in Blaine’s Aquatore Park. Graphic courtesy city of Blaine

Jim Kappelhoff, park and recreation director, presented site and floor plans for the project during a brief board discussion.

Fogerty Arena representatives are getting ready to bring a completed conditional use permit (CUP), site plan, preliminary floor plan, building elevations, preliminary utility plan and project narrative to the Blaine Planning Commission March 13, Kappelhoff said.

A positive planning commission recommendation would place the curling project before the Blaine City Council for an April 5 vote.

“It’s a very unique facility,” Kappelhoff said. “Not many cities have a curling rink. Once again, it’s something we’ve outdone ourselves with regarding athletic facilities.”

Plans for a state-of-the-art curling facility attached to Fogerty Arena took a huge step forward earlier this year during a Jan. 5 Blaine council workshop.

City leaders were convinced a $3.2 million curling center attached to Fogerty Arena’s south rink would be worthy of support.

Councilmembers agreed that Aquatore Park Field No. 1 should be taken out of commission this summer so the curling project’s April or early May construction plan could remain on track.

In addition, the council directed city staff to start working with Fogerty representatives on an overall development schedule and project application process.

The city is working with Fogerty Arena representatives to hammer out financial details that would need to be resolved before the project could move forward, namely possible use of the city’s bonding authority or curling user fees.

According to Kappelhoff, city staff also sent out request for proposals (RFPs) to hire a consultant for the field removal and replacement process.

“This is very new territory for everybody involved,” Kappelhoff said, referring to the field removal and construction process as well as the curling facility construction.”

Kappelhoff said two companies – Pioneer Engineering and SRF Consultants – sent responses.

“Staff is still evaluating the proposals and have not made a choice of companies,” he said.

Musco Lighting will work with the city to remove the field lights.

Jerry Walthour, Blaine Park Board chairman at large, asked Kappelhoff if additional soil boring work would be conducted before the start of field relocation.

“We only did one soil boring, and that showed a foot-and-a-half of peat,” Kappelhoff said. “As we went farther west, it got deeper, down to 17 feet.”

According to Kappelhoff, if the project is approved by the council and moves forward, one of the first steps will be removing light poles near Fogerty Arena.

“We need get those out so they can expand the construction area,” he said. “We will be taking those 48- to 50-foot high poles down and storing them behind Field No. 2.

“We’ll take the lamps off them and store those at the Blaine Public Works Department shop until they are ready for mounting on new field poles.”

Kappelhoff said the outdoor field lights are still under a 10-year warranty.

Commissioner Ron Leathers asked Kappelhoff who was picking up the cost of the soil boring work.

“It’s going to come out of the city park fund,” Kappelhoff said. “The council will determine an alternative funding source to cover cost of actually moving the field.”

Commissioner Rex Markle asked about completion dates for both projects.

Kappeloff said the Field No. 1 replacement would be scheduled for use in 2013.

Fogerty Arena representatives have told the city they are looking at a late fall facility opening if spring project construction begins on schedule, Kappelhoff said.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]