Anoka awards bid for Castle Field

Construction will get under way this summer on the new Castle Field.

Anders Skaalerud swings for the fences when the Tornadoes hosted Elk River at Castle Field April 11. Photo by Sue Austreng

Anders Skaalerud swings for the fences when the Tornadoes hosted Elk River at Castle Field April 11. Photo by Sue Austreng

The Anoka City Council approved a $1.58 million bid Monday for the construction of the baseball field, moving it from its current location off Highway 10 to the Anoka High School. The construction contract was awarded Ebert Construction, the lowest of six bidders on the project.

While discussions on the future of Castle Field have been going on for years, the relocation has been spurred by HealthPartners’ desire to purchase the current ball field site for a new medical clinic.

This covered the playing field and surrounding infrastructure including dugouts and bleachers along with three bid alternates – parking lot paving, lighting for the plaza and walkway and a batter’s eye screen,

“It’s everything needed to play ball at Castle Field,” said Greg Lee, city engineer.

Bids came in about 11 percent higher than the engineer’s estimate.

Funding from the project will include $1.105 million from the sale of the current Castle Field site as well as a $300,000 transfer from the city’s electric utility fund and $326,000 from the park capital fund. Total funding for this phase of the project will be $1.7 million, which includes contingencies and engineering and architectural fees.

The second phase of the project includes the building under the bleachers that will house the concession, restrooms and storage. The city is planning a fund-raising campaign to offset those costs, which are estimated at $438,000. It will also cost $25,000 for the demolition of the old Castle Field.

This brings the overall project costs to just under $2.2 million.

“I’m excited to get this project under way,” said Councilmember Mark Freeburg.

The contract will required that the new field be ready for seeding by Aug. 17 and available for limited play next spring.

“It’s going to be a fun project to watch, it’s going to happen fast,” said Mayor Phil Rice. “And it’s going to be a fun spot to visit for years to come.”

 

 

Land donation

Monday the council also approved a joint powers agreement with the Anoka-Hennepin School District, which is donating the land for Castle Field.

The parcel on northeast corner of the Anoka High School campus is valued at $750,000, according to City Attorney Scott Baumgartner, who was a part of the Castle Field Committee that looked at either refurbishing or relocating the ball field. He has also helped to set up the Castle Field Association, a non-profit that will oversee fund-raising as well as the management and upkeep of the new field.

City Manager Tim Cruikshank said the school district really stepped up to make this project happen.

As part of the agreement, the high school teams will get first priority when scheduling games at the new Castle Field.

“That works out well because their season is over before the summer season starts,” said Baumgartner.

Several city officials said they were grateful for the school district’s willingness to be involved with the relocation of the field.

“I don’t thing I ever heard a single concern about the school district and their support of this project,” said Rice.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com


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