Sports Authority discusses prioritiesWORTHINGTON - Representatives from the city, District 518 and Minnesota West Community and Technical College met for the first time Tuesday as a new group that will oversee the development and maintenance of outdoor recreational facilities in Worthington.
By: Laura Grevas, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON - Representatives from the city, District 518 and Minnesota West Community and Technical College met for the first time Tuesday as a new group that will oversee the development and maintenance of outdoor recreational facilities in Worthington.
“(City) council sees it as a great opportunity to break down barriers and look at sports as a whole for the city,” said City Administrator Craig Clark of the group that has been temporarily termed a “Sports Authority.”
“We’re really doing a lot of sharing anyway,” added city councilman Ron Wood, citing football and tennis facilities that are shared between the district and the college. “Probably if we get together, we could save some bucks and get a better set of facilities.”
Once the committee is better established, a main priority could be improvements to Trojan Field.
“I really have an interest in Trojan Field; that would give us the biggest bang for our buck,” said city councilman Mike Kuhle, explaining that the field could serve as an economic development driver by bringing more regional games to Worthington.
Proposed improvements include new stands, track and fencing, as well as the installation of artificial turf on the field, for a total estimated cost of $2.5 million, reported District 518 Superintendent John Landgaard. That number would not include improvements to the practice field or field house or the cost of a topographical study of the land.
Wood said such upgrades could bring exposure to the community.
“It’s my understanding at the state level that they’re going to be looking for artificial turf to be playing some of those football games. So instead of being eliminated from being a host city, we become a prime candidate,” he said.
Committee members also mulled the idea of a sports complex and emphasized the importance of having a point person to coordinate improvement efforts, schedule sporting events and market the facilities.
Soccer facilities may also receive more attention as administrators look to develop a soccer program at Minnesota West Community and Technical College.
“In terms of outreach to our international community here, soccer is very important to us,” said Minnesota West President Richard Shrubb.
The group will start with the basics, however, documenting available facilities and how much each entity spends on them and discussing which improvements will take priority.
As the group develops, it may also incorporate representatives from other organizations, such as the YMCA, school booster clubs and the Chamber of Commerce; and could eventually shift some focus onto indoor facilities such as the school gymnasiums. Other Sports Authority members include Dave Skog, District 518 director of management services; school board member Brad Shaffer; Public Works Director Jim Laffrenzen and Mike Fury, Minnesota West athletic director.