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Businesses contribute to make new athletic complex work

The city of Rosemount held a ribbon cutting for fields it built on land pre-dedicated on the UMore property. The city has tried to keep up with demand for athletic fields.

In the weeks ahead, little green sprouts will start to rise from soil on Akron Avenue. Eventually, those sprouts will mature into the turf of three green fields to be used by area soccer and lacrosse programs.

With soccer and lacrosse programs growing in the city, the fields will not come a moment too soon. The fields should be ready for play in 2015.

Flint Hills donated the 57 acres of land where the new fields are located. The city tried to pass a referendum to help build an athletic facility on the property but residents voted it down.

This year the city council made it a financial priority to start building at least part of the Flint Hills Athletic Complex project.

When the city approved the first phase of the project earlier this summer, plans didn't include the construction of the parking lot or trails to maneuver around the complex. The prevailing wisdom was that those could be built closer to the opening of the facility.

However after some informal discussions, Flint Hills and several other businesses stepped up to the plate to get those amenities. Parks director Dan Schultz said Flint Hills donated 90 tons of oil to make the asphalt for the trails and parking lot. The donation is estimated at $57,000.

Additionally the company coordinated with several other businesses to get the parking lot and trails built. Pine Bend Paving paved the parking lot, Barton Sand and Gravel mixed the asphalt and Kane Transport moved the oil.

"We are looking forward to the park becoming a reality," said Scott Lindemann, vice president of operations and plant manager at the Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend refinery. "We hope this donation will save the city money and allow it to finish the project on schedule."

While it took some coordination, Schultz said the various donations all fell into place and allowed the city the opportunity to move the project forward in a meaningful way.

"We are lucky we have people like that in our town," said Schultz of the donations.

Between the land and oil donations, Schultz said Flint Hills has donated more than $3 million to the city. He said the generosity has made it possible for the city to move forward on projects that improve the city's quality of life.

Athletic fields of all types are needed in Rosemount. As the community continues to grow, so do the youth athletic programs. By adding fields, Schultz said, the city is trying to keep up with the demand.

"Participation continues to grow. Field space is at a premium. Our facilities are at capacity," said Schultz.

In the last five years Rosemount has added a number of fields, including green fields for soccer and lacrosse and ball fields for softball and baseball. Last week, the city hosted a ribbon cutting for two new youth ball field on Akron Avenue on property pre-dedicated to the city for the UMore Park project.

Going forward the city has plans to build more fields at both the Flint Hills site and the UMore ball park. Schultz said those fields will be built as funding becomes available in the city's budget. He added that the city will continue to look for partners to help bring quality facilities to Rosemount.

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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