Blaine youth baseball task force meets consultants

Four consultants who are studying the feasibility of a large youth baseball complex in Blaine met June 21 with staff from the National Sports Center (NSC).

This spring, the National Sports Center Foundation (NSCF) awarded a $60,000 contract to Minneapolis and Dallas-based Conventions, Sports & Leisure International (CSL) to complete a feasibility study addressing development of a baseball youth complex and compare that use with other field development.

CSL International is partnering with Baltimore, Md.-based Ripken Design Group, and Minneapolis-based LHB Architects to tentatively complete the youth baseball feasibility study by the end of August.

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

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) provided $40,000 earlier this year to fund the youth baseball feasibility study. The Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, Anoka County, the city of Blaine and NSC paid $5,000 each, said Barclay Kruse, the NSC’s chief communications officer.

According to Kruse, Weston Johnson, CSL International project manager; Tim Korby, LHB Corp. project principal; and Michael Fisher, LHB Corp. Minneapolis office leader, took an afternoon golf cart tour of the NSC and proposed youth field sites.

The trio was accompanied by Jim Arnold, Ripken Design’s director of projects.

Blaine City Manager Clark Arneson, Minnesota Amauer Sports Commission (MASC) Chairman Duane Ahrens and NSCF Board Member Al Gottschalk also attended last week’s meeting.

“The main purpose of this first-time meeting was to put faces together with names,” Kruse said.

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

The youth baseball complex task force will not meet again or take action until the feasibility report is returned by the three consulting companies, Kruse said.

Tim Hennagir is at [email protected]