New courts coming to Aurelia Park in Blaine

Neighbors of Aurelia Park in Blaine have been asking the city for upgrades to the park for about three years, according to one of the councilmembers who represents this area, and a project is now imminent.

The Blaine City Council Oct. 3 on a 5-0 vote approved a $62,491.70 bid from Barber Construction, Inc. of St. Bonifacius to construct new tennis and basketball courts in order to replace the existing courts that had deteriorated. Mayor Tom Ryan and Councilmember Wes Hovland were unable to attend the council meeting.

Councilmember Dick Swanson, who along with Hovland represents this neighborhood, said the council three years ago had a project scope of $45,000 for this project. When bids came in higher than anticipated, it tabled any further work and went back to the drawing board.

City Engineer Jean Keely said the Blaine Park Board reviewed the bids and recommended another neighborhood meeting, but the council ultimately decided to go ahead with the project at the approximately $60,000 level even though only $45,000 is specifically budgeted for this project. Keely said eight bids were received ranging from $62,491.70 to $99,012.71.

“Speaking for Wes, I’m not sure we need another public hearing. We had a very large public hearing on this project,” Swanson said. “At that first public hearing that the park board had more people than they’ve ever had at a public hearing were in favor of this project, so I don’t really know what we’d gain by going back.”

City Manager Clark Arneson said the balance of the cost would be taken from the Lexington Athletics Complex project, which itself is well above what the council originally anticipated. The council learned this past February that this project could cost $3.8 million. Last year’s estimate was $2.18 million.

“I have no problem re-looking at the Lexington Athletic park plan,” Councilmember Dave Clark said.

Eric Hagen is at
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