Victoria Park field
A synthetic turf field will be installed this year for soccer, lacrosse and baseball in the West End neighborhood’s Victoria Park.

A $1.1 million multiuse athletic field will be constructed this year near the corner of Victoria Way and Adrian Street in Victoria Park. About a dozen people attended a March 30 open house to review the plans for the synthetic turf field. It was the last meeting before the project goes out for bid this spring, and it followed a final round of reviews by a park design advisory committee.

The field has generated controversy in the West End neighborhood in recent weeks. Proponents say the field is badly needed by people who need more room to play.

“We know that a deficit of field space exists,” said Mary Norton, a landscape architect with the Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation.

However, some neighbors have expressed concerns about lighting and parking, as well as the potential use of the field for tournaments. They would have preferred more passive park use or a natural grass field.

Planning for the park recently started up again after having been put on hold for almost four years. Parks and Recreation has about $900,000 remaining in an account earmarked for Victoria Park, and additional funding is anticipated from the Minnesota Twins.

The field is expected to be used for youth baseball, soccer and lacrosse. A partial fence will be installed to keep errant balls out of the street, while still allowing public access for open play. Trees near Montreal Way will be maintained, and landscaping will be added around the field. A pedestrian connection to Adrian Street also is planned.

If bids are favorable, some features could be added to the project. They include field lighting, picnic tables and benches, and improved spectator areas. If lighting is installed, Norton said it would be discussed further and would be designed to not spill beyond the field itself.

 

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“We know that a deficit of field space exists,” said Mary Norton, a landscape architect with the Saint Paul Department of Parks and Recreation.

Norton acknowledged the debate over synthetic versus natural grass fields. Artificial turf is popular with users and provides advantages for city maintenance staff, she said. The planned field also offers the opportunity to build in drainage improvements.

“They get pretty beaten up,” Norton said about grass fields. Synthetic turf fields can last 10-15 years and be easily replaced as needed, according to her.

Rob Spence, a volunteer with the Saint Paul Blackhawks soccer program, asked if the baseball field could be dropped from the plans. “Basically, every park in Saint Paul has a baseball field,” he said. 

Norton said that whenever the city can accommodate multiple sports on a field, it does. “The ability to add another premier baseball field to what is already a multipurpose turf field would be a win,” added city recreation services manager Andy Rodriguez.

Others at the meeting said they would welcome another baseball field in the area, noting that one of the Little League fields on the former Ford site is being lost due to the Highland Bridge development.

As far as parking is concerned, Norton said it is anticipated that the new multiuse field would see a maximum of 80 vehicles. A 40-space parking lot is planned and there are more than 130 on-street parking spaces nearby. The city is also looking at shared parking with adjacent property owners.

— Jane McClure

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. John

    Thanks for the comment. We’ll make that change in the story.

  2. Rob

    Minor correction… I don’t work for St. Paul Blackhawks. I’m a volunteer.
    And yes… putting a baseball field on this space is a waste of artificial turf.
    Everyone should be very appreciative of the work Saint Paul Parks and Andy Rodriguez do for our city, but I need to politely disagree that Victoria Park can be a premier baseball field. It won’t even have a proper pitching mound.
    I have no quarrel with baseball or softball, but virtually every St. Paul park and community center features a ball field. It is truly unnecessary. Regardless… happy to see more space for kids to play!

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