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BSC field striping draws concern from youth sports groups

With $22 million to renovate a field house, some Bielenberg Sports Center user groups expected to be accommodated a lot better than they say they are.

Striping on the newly revamped turf is now finished, though it appears more soccer-centric than anything, which irks a few of the other sporting groups who also utilize the facility for indoor practice in the winter.

Football, baseball and softball aren’t being represented as much, representatives said, and there is a possibility they’ll go to nearby facilities to rent time.

“At this point in time we are unsure where we’re going to be next spring,” Woodbury Athletic Association Baseball Director Gary Rinehart said. “I know we will be at Bielenberg for some of our time and we need to determine based on pricing and availability whether we need to entertain going somewhere else.”

The “volatile situation” as one user group representative called it, includes a new policy by the city that calls for renting half the field house instead of just a quarter for batting practice.

A quarter of the football-sized field house would be cheaper than half, but city officials say it’s still less expensive than renting the old dome.

Woodbury Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt said all user groups from soccer to football, baseball and softball were in on the striping plan.

Did they all approve the plan?

“For the most part,” he said.

The only concerns he said he’s heard were regarding football practice that will require some sort of temporary lines to mark yardage.

If the lines were added permanently, the field house would be too busy with too many lines going all different ways, he said.

“That would be our smallest user groups and there is very little planned at this point that football has at the field house,” Klatt said.

As for baseball set up, striping was done to accommodate every base and pitching distance, he added. A divider to split the field house in half will be erected and will rent for $200 compared to the old dome price of $210.

Those user groups are encouraged to rent half and bring more players in.

“It doesn’t make sense to rent a quarter when you can rent half and put more players,” Klatt said, adding, “If they wanted to split it with another group, that would be perfectly fine.”

But one representative from the user groups, who requested to remain anonymous due to ongoing discussions, said it’s very difficult to get all the players together at the same time and that renting a quarter of the space would make much more financial sense.

The Bielenberg Sports Center has been undergoing a major renovation since last spring. The two-level lobby, field house, concession stand, outdoor ice rink and a splash pad are set to debut Sept. 16.

A full-service restaurant that was planned for the second level is now in limbo as court proceedings continue between the city of Woodbury and Gartner Restaurant Holdings, who have been having disagreements over the past few months regarding construction costs.

The city is not currently pursuing another restaurateur, Klatt said, as it waits to see what comes from the civil suit.

Riham Feshir
Riham Feshir is a reporter and photographer for the Woodbury Bulletin. Her coverage includes Woodbury City Hall, Washington County Board of Commissioners and business news.  Follow Riham on Twitter @RihamFeshir for the latest updates.