The first pitch will be thrown out at Anoka’s new Castle Field Wednesday, July 3, 6 p.m.
The inaugural game at the field will be a scrimmage of former and current American Legion baseball players, starting at 6:30 p.m. The field will be available for some play through July.
“Ever since the snow started to melt we’ve been getting questions,” said Lisa LaCasse, Anoka’s recreation supervisor. “Everyone has been watching the field closely and they are anxious to get out there.”
But the city has been taking its time in order to give the new turf a chance to get established on the field, located just off Seventh Avenue near Anoka High School.
“The long winter inhibited the growth, so we wanted to hold off play until July,” LaCasse said. “There are still some areas that need attention in the outfield.”
The city will be working with the Castle Field Association to see which upcoming games could be rescheduled to the new ballpark, she said.
“They really recommend establishing turf should have an entire season of no play, so we are breaking those rules a little bit,” LaCasse said. The grass was planted late last summer.
The city wanted the Legion, Bucs and Anoka Ramsey Athletic Association teams to have a chance to play a few games at the ballpark, which can seat up to 250 people in the stands.
“It also gives us a chance to hear if any corrections need to be made in the design or the playability of the field,” LaCasse said.
Meanwhile, the fields at Enloe and Anoka High School have served as back-ups while Castle Field has been under construction.
The field was relocated on land donated by Anoka-Hennepin School District 11 to make way for the new HealthPartners clinic being built just off Highway 10 on the original Castle Field site.
During the July 3 ribbon cutting, Terry Castle, the nephew of Willard Castle, for whom the field has been named, will throw out the first pitch.
There will also be a ribbon cutting and comments by representatives of the Anoka American Legion and the Anoka City Council.
LaCasse said the ballpark will be officially dedicated the Willard E. Castle Memorial Field once the next phases of construction are complete. This includes a building that will house concessions and restrooms as well as a plaza area.
Following the game, the annual Independence Day fireworks will take place on Wednesday, July 3 at dusk. They will be set off near the new ballpark.
On Thursday, July 4 Anoka will host its annual ice cream social at George Green Park. Free root beer floats will be served from noon until they run out and the North Suburban Concert Band will perform.
Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]