By Ryan Gueningsman
LORETTO, MN Loretto city officials have directed the city attorney to draft a preliminary contract between the city and Providence Academy for use of the Arnold Klaers Field.
At the Oct. 8 city council meeting, City Council Members Henry Pepin and John Neumann reported they had met with Providence Academy Athletic Director Kurt Jaeger, Loretto parks coordinator Herb Koch, and Providence Academy assistant baseball coach Doug Doboszenski regarding a possible agreement between the City of Loretto and Providence Academy for use of the field. Providence Academy is a private, co-educational, pre-k through 12th grade Catholic college preparatory school in Plymouth.
The intent of the meeting was to identify preliminary goals for a long-term agreement between Providence Academy and the city. It was noted Providence Academy has been renting Arnold Klaers Field for its high school baseball practices and games since the 2012 season.
Preliminary terms discussed at the meeting include:
• Providence Academy would pay a flat rate fee of $3,500 for 10 years;
• Providence Academy would make a one-time capital improvement contribution of $50,000;
• The city would provide/agree to the installation of a changing area; and
• Providence Academy would have the right to participate in the preparation of grant applications along with the City of Loretto and the Loretto Community Athletic Association (LCAA).
Pepin said he would like to see an escalator in the yearly fee instead of a flat rate. Regarding the changing area, it was suggested at the meeting with Providence Academy the portable storage unit that was provided as a donation at an earlier council meeting, but never installed, could possibly be modified to be used as a changing area. If that were done, there would be no capital improvement or maintenance costs for the city, it was noted.
Neumann said that, in 2013, Providence Academy paid $2,200 in baseball field rentals to the city. The yearly fee of $3,500 would be an increase of $1,300.
Neumann also said the $50,000 could possibly be paid up front to aid in the funding of the retaining wall project at the park. He said Providence Academy would like to see the retaining wall replaced before the frost sets in this year.
He proposed the city could use available funds from the park’s capital account, contributions from the LCAA, and contributions from Providence Academy to pay for this project. He said $7,500 has been approved by the council to be used toward the project.
At the meeting, Providence Academy representatives noted the school would continue to donate about $1,500 in equipment a year, as it has done in the past.
Council Member Tom Pedersen inquired about the costs to the city of preparing and maintaining the facilities for Providence Academy’s use of the field. Mayor Kent Koch said much of the day-to-day maintenance (mowing, dragging, chalking the fields) is accomplished through donated labor by LCAA members.
Both Pepin and Neumann said if the donated labor would cease, the city would have to take over those duties, thus incurring an increased cost. Council consensus was these costs need to be completed before a final agreement is made with Providence Academy.
The council directed Public Works Director Jeff Leuer to contact Wenck and Associates to see what it would cost to put together specifications regarding the retaining wall project. If the work is estimated to cost more than $25,000 but less than $50,000, the city is required to get two bids.
The council also directed City Attorney Paula Callies to begin drafting a preliminary contract between the City of Loretto and Providence Academy for use of the field.
Article written with the assistance of the draft minutes from the meeting.