Blaine youth baseball complex gets study

The National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF) has selected a consulting firm to study the feasibility of building a large youth baseball complex in Blaine.

The foundation announced last week in a news release that it had awarded the $60,000 contract to Minneapolis and Dallas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL).

CSL International will partner with Baltimore, Md.-based Ripken Design Group, and Minneapolis-based LHB Architects to complete the study something this summer.

“We’re honored to partner with the National Sports Center on this exciting project,” said CSL Partner Jay Lenhardt in the April 24 news release.

“The NSC has a worldwide reputation as a premier amateur sports campus. Our consulting team is looking forward to the opportunity to help guide continued growth at this unique facility.”

Ripken Design assists municipalities, ownership groups and investors with design, management and development of unique sports and activity complexes as well as stadiums.

The feasibility study will address development of a large NSC baseball youth complex and compare that use with other possible field development uses.

“The consulting company brought on the partners,” said Barclay Kruse, the NSC’s chief communications officer. “Everybody who did bid for the job did the same thing. The Ripkin Group brings the baseball expertise and LHB is a local architectural firm. They will bring different skill sets to the finished product.”

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has provided $40,000 to fund the baseball feasibility study, Kruse said.

According to Kruse, the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, Anoka County, the city of Blaine and NSC are providing $5,000 each.

“It’s going to be a couple of months to complete the study,” Kruse said.

“We needed an outside voice on this. We could not be our own project consultant.”

A National Sports Center (NSC) youth baseball complex task force will not meet again or take action until the project feasibility report is returned, Kruse said last week in an interview.

The task force is currently exploring the concept of adding 16 youth baseball fields located on land directly north of 105th Avenue N.E. and four fields by Radisson Road.  A stadium of undetermined size would be located on soccer fields B1 and B2.

Plans show nine new soccer fields marked N1-N4, O1-O4 and P1 would be placed to the north near 109th Avenue N.E. as well as a new parking lot (Lot F).

Placement of four additional ball fields has been suggested across Radisson Road to the east of the Victory Links golf course.

A proposed access road would connect those fields to Blaine City Hall parking.

Steve Olson, the NSC’s chief operating officer, said in an April 24 news release additional NSC field development will become a reality at some future point.

“We want to do an in-depth comparison of several different development scenarios,” Olson said. “We’re looking to CSL to provide us with a development road map.”

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]