Blaine contributes $5,000 to youth baseball study

The Blaine Economic Development Authority (BEDA) will contribute $5,000 toward completing a national youth baseball center feasibility study.

Bryan Schafer, planning and community development director, explained the funding during the authority’s April 5 meeting.

The Minnesota Twins, the National Sports Center (NSC) and Anoka County will also contribute $5,000 to the $60,000 study.

Schafer said the four entities have been have been working on a youth baseball proposal for the NSC owned land north and south of 105th Avenue.

The proposal involves the creation of a 16-field national youth baseball complex for sports clinics and tournament play as well as a championship quality baseball stadium on the south side of 105th Avenue.

The NSC has also received a $40,000 grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) to fund a major portion of the facility feasibility study.

“Potentially, this is very good economic development because it will bring more people into our hotels and restaurants,” said Commissioner Dick Swanson.

Commissioner Dave Clark said development of the additional youth fields might be a cost-effective way for the city to address its future athletic field needs.

The proposed NSC complex would also serve girls’ softball. The new facility would be designed so both activities could occur successfully on common fields.

“They are ready to go ahead,” said EDA President Tom Ryan. “We’ve got the feasibility study reduced in cost, so the partners would not have to pay so much.”

Barclay Kruse, National Sports Center (NSC) chief communications officer, confirmed all four entities met March 22 and agreed to move ahead with the study.

“The timeline to complete the youth baseball feasibility study will be about two months,” Kruse said.

“We should be getting the study results either in May or later on in June.”

Kruse said phone interviews with three consulting companies were set this week. One company would be selected to complete the study the week of April 16.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]