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Donations a big help in making athletic fields happen

An in-kind donation from Dakota Aggregates has helped take the sting out of building the first phase of the Flint Hills Athletic Complex.

The city of Rosemount plans to begin construction in the late summer on three green fields and a parking lot on 57-acres of property east of Akron Avenue. Flint Hills donated the land to the city in 2007.

Dakota Aggregates, the company that will conduct mining on the UMore Park property, has offered the city an in-kind donation of $280,000 worth of grading and earth work, as well as some construction materials for the project.

"Obviously the donation helps offset the cost of the project," said Dan Schultz, Rosemount's parks director.

Total project costs for phase one are estimated at $1,070,567. The donation would bring the city's costs down to $735,862. The city council had allocated $800,000 in its Capital Improvement Program for the project. Schultz said the city will put the project out to bid in the coming weeks.

The donation comes after the project had suffered a hit. Testing showed the soil consists of a clay material that's not ideal for turf fields. Schultz said 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 added to the cost of the project by more than $200,000. Earlier this spring the city council gave the nod for the city staff to move forward with bringing in the topsoil to rectify the situation. However the council had discussed not paving the parking lot until 2014 to offset the cost.

Schultz said the donation from Dakota Aggregates means they can move forward with the entire first phase. City staff also is in talks with Flint Hills to donate petroleum products for the construction of the parking lot and trails. That could offset costs even more.

In 2008, the city put an $8 million referendum to the voters but it failed. Since then the land has sat mostly vacant.

"We've struggled to get something out there," said Schultz.

While the city has long had needs for more athletic fields, Schultz said it's hard to find the money and resources to build them. This year the city council made it a priority to get at least a first phase built. He said donations of land and services go a long way to helping the city meet those needs.

"It gets us that much closer," said Schultz.

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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