A quarter-million-dollar ball-field improvement project has begun at Pershing Park, including better drainage and grading and new safety fences for the baseball and softball
Work has also begun on a $312,000 project to upgrade Lyndale Farmstead Park, including a new tot lot and resurfaced paths.
To make way for a dual soccer/football-practice field, Pershing will lose a hockey rink and ball field in the park’s southeast corner, said park planner Cliff Swenson. The move will keep the high-impact football practice off of the park’s center, preserving the turf on the other two soccer fields.
The bids came in under budget, allowing the park board to add a batting cage, pedestrian lights and benches, Swenson said. Work should be completed by fall.
The Lyndale Farmstead tot lot will feature Galaxy equipment, said Deb Boyd, park planner. It will have two play areas, one for pre-school-aged children and one for elementary-school-aged children. It will have swings, slides and a climbing wall.
The neighborhood group contributed $20,400 for a drinking fountain, safety fencing, benches and a game table, she said. Work on the project should be done by September.
In other developments:
Armatage, Pershing get new directors
Jerry Peterson, a 16-year Park Board employee, is the new director at Armatage Park. He spent the last 3 years as the director at Pershing Park and said Armatage offered an opportunity to do more programming.
"I have more ball fields, I have a gym. I wanted a change. Change is good," he said. "You can run out of creativity. When you go to a new park, you get rejuvenated."
Rosey Vogan is the new director at Pershing Park. She started in April. She has worked more than 3 years with the Park Board, most recently as youth sports coordinator downtown.
"I’m just looking forward to building up the program and hoping to get more adult and teen programs," she said. "I am looking forward to meeting more people."
"My specialty area is youth sports and training coaches and working with parents. I have a strong background in special education."
Park HQ moves ahead
The Board of Estimate and Taxation approved 7-0 a $4.5-million bonding request from the Park Board to purchase a new building on the river, though not everyone agrees on how to use the property.
The Park Board voted to buy the building at 2117 W. River Rd. for roughly $3 million to use as a headquarters. Counting building renovation, moving and other costs, the project’s price tag tops $5.5 million, said Don Siggelkow, assistant superintendent for development.
Mayor R.T. Rybak said he supports the Park Board’s acquisition, but said the use of the property should be open for discussion, whether a joint city/parks service center or other development. "It has the best views in town. I don’t think we should necessarily put government there," he said.
Rybak suggested the Park Board take over the Minneapolis Community Development Agency’s lease in the Crown Roller building, 105 5th Ave. S., next to the future Mill Ruins Park. "They would be on the river," he said.
According to Park Board estimates, financing for the new headquarters is structured so mortgage payments would equal foregone rent payments through 2018. The board would then begin saving money. If the City Council does not approve the bonding request, the Park Board would need to find other financing, which would mean higher payments.
The Park Board must buy the building since it has signed a purchase agreement.
The Board of Estimate’s approval is contingent on a request from the City Council. Rybak and two councilmembers, Paul Ostrow (1st Ward) and Barb Johnson (4th Ward), sit on the board.
The issue could go to the Council’s Ways and Means Committee as early as Monday July 22 and to the full council Friday July 26.
East Harriet bike lane comments sought
The Park Board, city and East Harriet Farmstead Neighborhood Association are seeking public comment on proposed bike lanes extending from Lake Harriet along Roseway Road, Kings Highway, and West 40th Street to Lyndale Avenue. A meeting will be held Aug. 7, 7 p.m., Walker Senior Healthcare Center, 3737 Bryant Ave. S. For more information, call Ringold at 661-4864.