Residents Hesitant on $84M Community Center | Athletic Business

Residents Hesitant on $84M Community Center

The town of Bloomington, Minn., is seeing some pushback on a planned $84 million community recreation center slated for a portion of the 34-acre outdoor Valley View Park, which currently features a swimming pool, multiple baseball and softball fields, and a playground.

Resident Jeff Barnes, who plays softball on the fields and is director of the Fireman’s Softball Tournament, told the local CBS affiliate that he’s afraid the softball fields will be lost if the plan is allowed to move ahead.

“I don’t know what we’ll do,” Barnes said. ”We might have to move to a different city, and we really don’t want to do that because we like showcasing the city of Bloomington and their parks and rec department.” 

The city has been looking to build a new community center since 2015, as population in the area is booming and Valley View can’t support everyone.

Bloomington Parks and Rec director Ann Kettreh said the park is “aging and beyond its functional life.” 

Valley View Park was selected as a location for the center because it’s large and city-owned.

“We’re looking at a lot of traditional amenities that you would see in a community center, like an indoor park, a walking track, gyms, indoor and outdoor pools,” Kettreh said, noting that nothing is set in stone. “We have baseball fields that are very treasured to the community, certainly. We have the Kent Hrbek complex and the Red Haddox complex, and we have said from the very beginning that those facilities will not be touched,” Kettreh said.

A planning committee estimates the center would cost $85 million and could take four to five years to build.  

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