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BSC, Eagle Valley see increases in use in 2015

With more than 400,500 visits recorded in 2015, use of Woodbury's Bielenberg Sports Center is on the rise. And so is the use of the city-owned Eagle Valley Golf Course.

Annual reports for the two city amenities were shared with the Woodbury City Council during an April 20 workshop. Both reports cited a rise in usership last year and projected even more of an increase in visitors for this year.

Last year marked the first full year of operation since Bielenberg Sports Center's expansion was completed. The addition of the field house and outdoor rink helped to drive more traffic to BSC, which in turn, increased the facility's use, according to BSC Manager Dave Black.

Overall, ice programs and rentals accounted for 148,762 of the visitors to Bielenberg Sports Center, Black said. That's up 16.5 percent over the 2011-2014, four-year average of 127,669 users.

Ice rental for the indoor rinks was also up by 3.3 percent, he said, with 3,819 hours logged in 2015. That resulted in rental revenue of more than $700,000. The majority of those hours went to Woodbury athletics programs, Black added—more hours than he had originally anticipated would be used by local programs.

"I want it real clear," Black said, "I didn't think it would be 90 percent of Woodbury groups in there."

Open during the winter months, the outdoor rink had 16,476 participants from Jan. 1 to March 5, 2015, and from Nov. 28 to Dec. 31, 2015. Though use of the outdoor rink was free, BSC earned revenue totalling $34,565 for skate rental, skate sharpening, and miscellaneous skate products.

Likewise, the field house was a big draw for 2015.

The field house was also open for a full year for the first time in 2015. Total field rental revenue was $427,462. Between the youth sports organizations that rented the space, and adult league programs, a total of 115,583 people used the field house last year, Black said.

But Bielenberg Sports Center, as a facility, was also used for several community events, which helped to draw people into the building, Black said. Major events at BSC included the Feed My Starving Children MobilePack event, the Minnesota Hockey State Peewee tournament, Special Olympics State Football Tournament, New Year's Eve Family Celebration, Just Between Friends Consignment Sale and the Washington County Emergency Preparedness Fair.

"The bottom line is," Parks and Recreation Director Bob Klatt added, "we did really well."

A few new items will be coming to BSC this year, too. Lobby benches with built-in cubbies will be installed, and there are plans to purchase patio and lobby furniture. Concession stand changes are planned, as well.

Also coming in 2016 will be the opening of the all-inclusive playground, Madison's Place, on the BSC property. The Woodbury-based Summit Orthopedics will also open space in BSC this year.

Eagle Valley Golf Course

Mother Nature was good to Eagle Valley Golf Course in 2015, as well. The golfing season started one week after the BSC outdoor rink closed, and ended one week before the outdoor rink opened for this past winter.

The mild spring and fall weather meant Eagle Valley was open from March 11 through Nov. 18, which meant there were 192 days available to play golf at the course. That was a 9 percent increase in the number of days the course was open compared to 2014.

Likewise, the rounds played increased by 8.7 percent, for a total of 33,559 rounds played, Eagle Valley Golf Course Operations Supervisor Dan Morris said.

Overall, the total revenues for the golf course increased by 6.9 percent compared to 2014. The annual revenue for Eagle Valley Golf Course hit is highest mark ever, bringing in more than $1.463 million in 2015.

Eagle Valley Golf Course covers 225 acres and employs three fulltime staff and 50 seasonal staff. It has been named the official golf course of the St. Paul Saints, and The First Tee of the Twin Cities—a youth development program that teaches leadership and life skills through golf—will be starting its fourth year at Eagle Valley Golf Course in 2016.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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