The Corcoran City Council heard from Rockford school officials about immediate plans for a varsity baseball field in Corcoran and future plans for an elementary school and community center.
The council also discussed the sewer and water policy related to connections by existing residences, and took action on other issues.
Supt. Paul Durand and school board member Chuck Tryon were present with an update about the district’s vision for the future of district-owned land near the Corcoran City Park.
The school district passed a levy last year and also received a Twins baseball grant. Corcoran Mayor Ken Guenthner later said that he and Supt. Durand have been discussing how to maximize the potential for the city’s park land and adjoining school district land.
“A combination of factors led to the district planning a varsity baseball field on the park’s north end,” Guenthner said. “It would be accessed from County Rd. 10 on the west side of the park. Right now we’re going through the city approval process.”
The city’s park and trails commission reviewed the plans at its last meeting, and the planning commission will review it at its next meeting. Items like baseball light height and parking would need conditional use permit approval.
The field will be a varsity baseball stadium, meaning future Rockford High School baseball games would be played there.
“I think the school district wants to bid out the project this year, maybe even push some dirt before the end of the construction season,” Guenthner said. A landscape/design official present at the council meeting said the school district would like to play games at the field during the 2015 season.
City approvals are anticipated in November.
The council and school officials next had a broader discussion about developing the area. The district’s long-term land use is to locate an elementary school and community center on the south side of the school property, straddling the city and school park land.
Guenthner said the district and city would collaborate with a long-term lease agreement so the district and city could jointly use the entire area.
“That’s really the big vision discussion,” Guenthner said, while adding that there is no specific time frame on construction. “I think both parties recognize that working together on the ball field and master planning would probably lead to the school planning.”
The mayor said Corcoran’s land use plan for the area includes residential development.
“Realistically, until we see some residential development close to that park area, we would probably need some development before the school district could financially justify building a school there,” he said. “Our land use plan will lead to that, and the school district understands that. But they are very interested in seeing a school presence on their eastern district in Corcoran.”
In other matters, the council discussed a sanitary sewer and water services report.
The council Sept. 26 directed staff to develop a survey with key questions about utility availability. Staff presented the results.
City engineer Kent Torve also included a financial analysis of extending utilities to neighborhoods near the Lennar residential development site planned for the city’s southwest corner.
“The main takeaway is that the Lennar development would be self-sustaining financially, and connecting additional neighborhoods is not required to cash flow the system,” city administrator Brad Martens wrote in his memo to the council. “Revenues and expenditures for the system would be separate from the general fund and not be a part of the property taxes paid to the city.”
Mayor Guenthner later confirmed that there is no financial necessity for the city to “proactive re-sewer existing neighborhoods.” He said, “We can extend sewer and water into the city and have it available to all new construction, economically, without requiring existing users to tie in, as long as they have functioning septic and wells.”
Martens said the policy and ordinance outline requirements for properties within the city to pay availability fees and connection fees for the use of the sewer and water system.
The council directed staff to update the policy based on council discussion.
In other action, the council:
ACCEPTED a letter from Medina Police Chief Ed Belland thanking the Corcoran Police Department for its help setting up a perimeter that led to the capture of two kidnapping suspects.
RECEIVED an inquiry about a city-maintained compost site. Councilor Diane Lynch offered to collect data from other cities Corcoran’s site and return the information to administrator Martens.