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New fields in the works on donated Flint Hills property

These fields will have a whole new look by the end of summer.

The city of Rosemount took ownership of a 57 acres more than five years ago with plans to build an athletic complex. Work will begin this summer to make way for new fields, but it's with a higher price tag than was originally expected.

Parks director Dan Schultz said the city began construction on three green fields to be used for lacrosse, soccer and football. Testing, though, showed the soil is a clay material that's not ideal for turf fields. In a memo to the city council, Schultz said the clay can cause a bathtub effect and trap water.

Current soil materials on the property will make it necessary to add drain tiles to the area and to bring in 10 to 11 inches of topsoil for the fields.

Bringing in the soil will add to the cost of the project. Schultz said it could increase the upfront costs by $200,000 to $250,000.

The city will put out for bids this spring. Schultz said they plan to put down seed in August. The three fields will be ready for use in 2015. The city plans to build a parking lot at that time to accommodate the fields.

The city took ownership of the land in 2007. Flint Hills Resources donated the 57 acres east of Akron Avenue for an athletic complex.

In an earlier attempt to build the complex, the city put an $8 million referendum to the voters. That referendum failed, though, and the land has sat mostly vacant ever since.

Other partnerships have allowed the city to build fields in other places, including several at Dakota County Technical College and on property dedicated to the city on the University of Minnesota's UMore property over the years, delaying work at the Flint Hills property.

The city still has a need for athletic fields and so the city council budgeted to build this year. The three fields are the first phase of the project. Schultz said eventually the athletic complex will include seven green fields, a parking lot and amenities such as a picnic shelter and restrooms.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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