New association to manage, fund-raise for Castle Field

A user group of what will be the new Castle Field is forming an official association to manage the field and fund-raise to offset costs of the new ball park.

The Castle Field Association, which will be a non-profit organization, is an offshoot of the Castle Field Committee, put together to investigate the possibility of either renovating the current ball field or building a new one.

After a year’s worth of investigation, the city is moving forward with the construction of a new $2.1 million Castle Field, relocating the ball park from its current Highway 10 location to its new home at Anoka High School.

City Attorney Scott Baumgartner, also a member of the Castle Field Committee and vice president of the Anoka Ramsey Youth Athletic Association, has put together the articles of incorporation and is drafting bylaws for the new Castle Field Association.

“The thought behind that small group is to be a non-profit organization with the purposes of assisting the city with some of the costs that are going to be associated with the new field, such as the maintenance, the management of the field itself, fund-raising activities,” said Baumgartner. “With a non-profit organization that association would be in a better position to raise funds.”

The Castle Field Association will be made up of representatives from the user groups that play on the ball field.

“By having these groups come together and form this non-profit organization they are essentially taking ownership and pride of the new Castle Field,” said Baumgartner. “Not only are they just playing there but they will be part of the field itself. They are going to be managing, maintaining and utilizing and putting back into the field, not just taking from it.”

The association’s board of directors includes: Ann Atkins-Johnson (community at large), Dave Bross (former Anoka High School coach), Nancy Nelson (community at large), Steve Nelson (Anoka Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission), Rick Oelschlager (Anoka Legion), Michael Harwerth (Anoka Bucs), Jim Olson (Anoka/Ramsey Athletic Association), Tom Redmann (Anoka Hennepin School District), Dave Steinbring (Anoka Legion baseball), Jay Rumpca (Anoka High School baseball) and Joshua D. Wells (Anoka Bucs).

The city of Anoka has approved a management agreement between the city and the Castle Field Association.

“It sets forth the rights, responsibilities and obligations of both the city and the non-profit relative to the maintenance, management and upkeep of the field,” said Baumgartner.

Councilmember Jeff Weaver questioned what would happen if the city had issues with how the field was being managed.

“What happens if this council or another council in the future has a problem with the way the Castle Field Association is running a city-owned facility?” asked Weaver.

According to Baumgartner, there are limits to what the Castle Field Association can do.

“The Castle Field Association can’t spend any city money,” said Baumgartner. “All it can do is assist in the upkeep, make suggestions and fund-raise. The city has the ultimate say on what goes on there when it comes to capital improvements.”

The association also must present an annual budget to the city council each spring.

“There are very definite and specific duties that the two parties are going to be obligated to do, even down to dragging the field once a week,” said Councilmember Steve Schmidt.

Construction is expected to start on the new ballpark this spring, with a ground breaking planned for May 22.

“What’s exciting for me is what this is going to do for town baseball in the city of Anoka,” said Councilmember Carl Anderson. “I think it’s going to be a big thing.”

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]