Local soccer, football associations donate to future Andover park

The North Metro Soccer Association and Andover Football Association are writing checks to help make a planned 40-acre Andover city park a reality.

The North Metro Soccer Association donated $40,000 to help develop a 40-acre Andover park that will include three fields that could be used by the youth soccer, football and lacrosse associations. The Andover Football Association will donate $10,000 over the next five years or sooner. File photo by Eric Hagen

The North Metro Soccer Association donated $40,000 to help develop a 40-acre Andover park that will include three fields that could be used by the youth soccer, football and lacrosse associations. The Andover Football Association will donate $10,000 over the next five years or sooner. File photo by Eric Hagen

Soccer association board president Barb Anderson April 4 presented a $40,000 donation at the Andover Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.

“Our whole goal is to have kids active outside and playing,” Anderson said. “If kids are active, they do better in school and life and it’s better for the whole community.”

The football association will present a $2,000 check April 18. Association President Mike Johnson said they plan to donate $10,000 over the next five years and maybe sooner. The football board would have liked to give more this year, but it had to purchase about 500 football helmets last year for well over $50,000.

Johnson said the three new full-size fields at this park will be very welcome additions to the community for the football, soccer and lacrosse youth associations. The football association mainly uses Prairie Knoll Park and it needs alternative fields to practice on to cut down on the wear and tear there and to help with scheduling.

“It’s a growing community and we need more space,” Johnson said.

The city of Andover purchased 40 acres at the northeast corner of 161st Avenue and Tulip Street from Legacy Christian Academy for $305,000 in July 2012.

Youth football, lacrosse and soccer associations will have the use of three fields that could be divided into smaller fields once the first phase is completed. The plan is to light one field on the south side of a park. The park would be irrigated and this could be extended south of 161st Avenue to Pine Hills Park.

The projected cost of $1.3 million would go up if the 180-stall parking lot is paved. Neighbors are concerned about dust blowing onto their properties if the surface is gravel.

The master plan beyond the first phase could include a multi-purpose building with concessions, rest rooms and storage space, a gazebo, a large community play area, a small tot lot, a game court for half-court basketball, four square and hopscotch, sand volleyball court, nature trails or an elevated wooden boardwalk, prairie grass and wetland demonstration areas, three Frisbee disc golf baskets, a sledding hill in the winter and a storage building for public works and athletic associations.

“I want to thank you very much on behalf of the parks commission for your ongoing partnership with us in improving the park facilities within the city of Andover,” Ted Butler, parks and recreation commission chairperson, told Anderson. “We’re fortunate to work with a number of terrific youth athletic associations, including North Metro Soccer, and your support is greatly appreciated.”

The city last December hired WSB & Associates to finalize the master plan and first-phase project.

A public hearing was held at the Feb. 19 council meeting on the proposal and some of the neighbors asked for a gate at the parking lot entrance that could be closed after hours, that the parking lot lights be shut off at night when the park is closed to eliminate light pollution, security cameras be placed at different locations, a larger parking lot at Pine Hills Park, a crosswalk on 161st Avenue and no parking signs on the 162nd and 163rd lanes cul de sacs east of the park.

City staff is currently finalizing the first-phase plan. One question the council must address is how to fund this project. The 2013-2017 capital improvement plan estimates the first phase would cost $800,000. The projected funding sources in this document are $600,000 from the city capital equipment reserve, $100,000 from the parks project levy and $100,000 from donations.

Anderson said this $40,000 donation would not impact North Metro Soccer Association’s user fees because the board already had a soccer field development fund set up to contribute to projects like this. It donated $100,000 to the city of Andover three years ago to help redevelop Hawk Ridge Park.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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