Commission suggests name for new 40-acre park in Andover

Pine Hills North Park may be the name of the new 40-acre park complex in Andover.

The Andover Parks and Recreation Commission suggested Pine Hills North Park as the name of the new 40-acre park complex that now includes three lighted fields for football, lacrosse and soccer and a gravel parking lot designed to hold 180 vehicles. The plan is to pave the parking lot during a future phase.Submitted photo

The Andover Parks and Recreation Commission suggested Pine Hills North Park as the name of the new 40-acre park complex that now includes three lighted fields for football, lacrosse and soccer and a gravel parking lot designed to hold 180 vehicles. The plan is to pave the parking lot during a future phase.Submitted photo

The Andover Park and Recreation Commission Nov. 7 suggested this name to the Andover City Council, which will vote Nov. 19.

The community submitted about 50 different names after the city asked for suggestions, but Pine Hills North Park was not among the ideas until someone emailed parks commission chairperson Ted Butler and pointed out that this would be the easiest for people to adjust to considering there is a Pine Hills Park just across the street.

“Anybody familiar with how to get to the existing Pine Hills Park would not have any trouble finding the location, so there’s a logistical advantage,” Butler said.

Oak Run Sports Complex and Pine Ridge Sports Complex were the next two most popular options, in no particular order.

A couple of the suggestions paid homage to Royce Bennett, who had bought this property in 1950 and farmed it, according to his daughter Bonnie Dehn, who still lives in the neighborhood.

Jim Lindahl, vice chairperson of the parks commission, was partial to Bennett Field, but nobody else supported this suggestion. Butler said he likes the idea of recognizing the family in some way, but felt naming a field after the family would be more appropriate because the land was not donated.

The city in July 2012 paid Legacy Christian Academy $305,000 for these 40 acres. The private Christian school had purchased the land from the Dehn family for a new school, but subsequently changed its planned future campus site to Ramsey.

Parks commissioner Andrew Melberg and his young daughters loved the Adrenaline Acres idea because it would draw attention to the park.

Butler said this name could work if it was just a sports complex, but the master plan includes much more.

Including all the engineering prep work and construction, Andover spent about $1.2 million to construct the first phase of three lighted fields that could be used for football, soccer or lacrosse games, a gravel parking lot designed to hold 180 vehicles, according to City Administrator Jim Dickinson.

The North Metro Soccer Association donated $40,000 and the Andover Football Association is planning to donate $10,000 spread over five years.

The city transferred $735,000 over a two-year period from its capital equipment reserve fund and $300,000 came from deferred Jay Street road assessment payments the city received when Brad Povlitzki closed on the sale of the former Pov’s Sports Bar site with Walmart, according to City Administrator Jim Dickinson. The city also set aside $100,000 from its park improvement levy revenue.

Todd Haas, assistant public works director, said the first full season the park will be open is 2015 because the seeded grass needs time to take hold before a lot of games are played, but it may be possible for a few games to be played there next year if the city feels the fields can handle it.

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

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