Blaine council appoints community center task force

The Blaine City Council May 1 appointed 21 people to a new Community Center Task Force.

The task force includes seven people from youth athletic associations including the Blaine-Spring Lake Park Athletic Association, Blaine Volleyball Association, Panther Basketball Club, Blaine Back Court Club, and the Blaine Soccer Club. The Blaine Back Court Club and Blaine Soccer Club each have two representatives on the task force while the other groups have one person each.

There are two representatives from the Metro North Chamber of Commerce, one person from the Blaine Senior Advisory Board, a Blaine Park Board member, a representative from the Spring Lake Park School District and nine other Blaine residents.

The council discussed this community center issue during an April 10 workshop meeting. It directed Public Services Manager Robert Therres to contact people who had been involved in a recent community center task force that had been independently formed to see if they would serve on this new council-appointed task force. The council also asked Therres to reach out to other community groups, such as the Blaine Senior Advisory Board.

All 21 people who applied to be on the new task force were appointed by the council.

The general direction given was the council would like this group of volunteers to think about what amenities a Blaine community center would need before coming back to the council by late August with a preliminary 2015 budget that would only cover consulting and planning costs. The city would cover the consultant’s costs.

Blaine residents will get to decide whether or not they want this community center, which would likely need ongoing public subsidization. The council’s goal is for a community center referendum to be on the 2016 general election ballot. After some preliminary research, Blaine city staff found that while each have different business models, the community centers in Andover, Maple Grove, Maplewood, New Brighton and Shoreview all require some type of public subsidy even after user fees are factored in.

Eric Hagen is at [email protected]