Youth organizations will donate $73,000 to help light Elk River athletic field

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Two youth organizations will donate $73,000 to the city of Elk River to pay for lighting an athletic field.

The Elk River Youth Football Association will donate $45,000 and the Elk River Youth Lacrosse Association will give $28,000.

The money will be used to install lighting at field No. 10 at the city-owned Oak Knoll Athletic Complex, located at 999 Proctor Ave.

Total cost of the project is estimated at $135,000. The city intends to pay the balance — $62,000 — with liquor store profits. The city owns and operates Northbound and Westbound liquor stores.

The next step in the field lighting project is for the city to solicit bids and quotes, which will be brought back to the City Council for approval in early 2014, according to Elk River Parks and Recreation Director Michael Hecker.

He said the city has been working with the two youth associations for about the past six months on their need for an additional lighted field.

Both the youth football and the youth lacrosse programs are growing and currently have access to only one field with lights, he said. That’s at the city’s Youth Athletic Complex at 9850 165th Ave. About 650 youth participate in the two programs, according to city officials.

Under the agreement to light the field at Oak Knoll, the Elk River Youth Football Association will make an initial contribution of $25,000 and the Elk River Youth Lacrosse Association will make an initial contribution of $8,000. Each association will also make subsequent contributions of $5,000 each for four years from July 1, 2014 to 2017.

The Elk River City Council agreed unanimously to the terms of the deal Monday.

Todd Raymakers of Elk River Youth Football and John Haaf of Elk River Youth Lacrosse represented their organizations at the meeting.

“We appreciate their working with the city and wanting to make this happen in our community,” Hecker said.

Mayor John Dietz had said at a council work session last month that what impressed him about the two youth organizations was their willingness to help pay for the project.

“Rather than just come with their hand out, they come with their checkbook, too,” he said.

He called the partnership “a heck of a deal.”