Anoka breaks ground on a new Castle Field

While they might not be quite ready to play ball, Anoka has broken ground on the construction of a new Castle Field.

A list of stakeholders grabbed a shovel and took part in the ground breaking of the new Castle Field, kicking off construction on Tuesday.
A list of stakeholders grabbed a shovel and took part in the ground breaking of the new Castle Field, kicking off construction on Tuesday.

The city Tuesday hosted a special ceremony where a long list of stakeholders were able to grab a shovel and share in moving some dirt on the new ball park, which will be located at the Anoka High School.

“I can’t remember any city project that has required so much coordination with so many groups,” said Councilmember Carl Anderson during Tuesday’s ground breaking ceremony.

Anderson, along with Councilmember Mark Freeburg, represented the council on the Castle Field Committee – a group made up of city staff as well as representatives from the Anoka American Legion, the Anoka-Hennepin School District and the ball clubs that use the facility.

The group was charged with coming up with a recommendation to either rehabilitate the current site off Highway 10 or coming to consensus on moving it to a new location.

“Everyone who has an interest in this field has been involved,” said Freeburg.

Castle Field was originally given to the city by the Anoka American Legion.

“It’s very impressive that something we started many, many years ago is turning into something we see here today,” said Gary Munkholm, representing Legion Post 102.

Over the past year the group has recommended a site plan and the city entered into an agreement where the Anoka-Hennepin School District donated the property for the new ball field.

School Board Chairman Tom Heidemann said the district is glad to see the vacant land being put to good use as a community asset.

“It’s going to be a spectacular facility,” said Heidemann.

Last month the city awarded a $1.58 million contract to Ebert Construction to construct the new Castle Field. This includes all the elements of the playing field, including dugouts and bleachers.

The city is expected to go out for bids later this year for the concession and storage building, which is estimated to cost more than $450,000. Fund-raising efforts are now under way to help pay for this portion of the project.

Funding for the project will include $1.105 million from the sale of the current Castle Field site as well as a $300,000 transfer from the city’s electric utility fund and $326,000 from the park capital fund. Total funding for this phase of the project will be $1.7 million, which includes contingencies and engineering and architectural fees.

After the final game is played at Castle Field in July, the city will get to work dismantling the infrastructure to make way for a new 60,000 square-foot medical clinic.

HealthPartners has agreed to buy the property, where it plans to relocate its RiverWay Clinic from downtown Anoka into a new building. Construction is expected to begin on the clinic in August.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]