Corcoran, Rockford schools plan major field improvement

Could a new school be next?

This much is known: the city of Corcoran and Rockford School District are planning a major ball field improvement at a district-owned site adjoining the city park. What isn’t known is if Corcoran’s sewer and water project could help facilitate plans for a future school near this same location.

The city council is interested in expending Tax Increment Financing dollars to extend sewer and water to the site.

Staff told the council that the original sewer and water project is mostly complete. The Metropolitan Council, which will oversee the city’s wastewater collection, is building a lift station in eastern Corcoran that when completed in July or August will wrap up construction of the city’s first ever municipal sewer and water project. Water is already online, at least to the sewer and water project’s edge at County Rd. 19 in downtown. Now the council is interested in crossing County Rd. 19 and extending services west.

“Discussion before the council is are we going to take (sewer and water) any further than the first phase?” city administrator Dan Donahue said. “The council is talking about extending it to the city park. Then that makes it available to both downtown and the Rockford Schools property.”

The school district is working on a concept plan for improvements to the park. The district secured a grant to help facilitate construction of varsity level fields that would, for example, be used for baseball and soccer. The grant requires the school district to take some type of action before the end of this year, such as having contracts in place.

Donahue said he is hopeful the project could turn dirt as early as this year, with full completion in 2014.

Once the city sees the concept plan next month, Donahue said the next step is to study the costs of extending utilities to the site.

“The council is probably in favor of (the extension) but it needs to see the specific costs,” he said. “If the concept goes forward, sewer and water would be very helpful,” such as for rest rooms and concession areas.

Donahue further noted that sewer and water could increase the likelihood of a future school being constructed on district-owned property to the north of the park.

“A school? Maybe someday,” Donahue said. “The school district hasn’t said yes or no, but it’s very possible. The district is looking at things long term, they want to do some planning and projecting. But it might be possible that they throw in a concept for a school.”

The city and Rockford superintendent recently met to discuss plans for the field area. Donahue said Corcoran would be giving more information about bringing utilities to the park, near the current rink warming house.

“We’ll be presenting costs and more information at the (Feb. 14) council meeting,” Donahue said.