‘The baseball field is a go’ in Hanover: Council re-votes, accepts project donation

The Hanover City Council took a re-vote and has now unanimously accepted a donation that will lead to construction of a redesigned baseball field at Settlers Park.

This overturns a previous vote that lacked the super-majority four-fifths vote to accept a $50,000 donation from the Hanover Athletic Association (HAA).

The council also approved an ordinance amendment pertaining to principal uses, buildings and eligibilities, and took action on other issues.

BASEBALL DONATION

Mere weeks after the council did not muster enough votes (voted 3-2 whereas a super-majority four out of five was required) to accept a baseball field donation from the HAA, the council reversed course and unanimously voted to accept.

Former city councilor John Vajda was present and argued in favor of accepting the donation and forwarding the field redesign since the project was approved already.

Councilors Mary Ann Hallstein and Ken Warpula were the initial no votes. At this meeting Hallstein explained that she first voted against because needed more time to gather more information. She and Warpula ended up voting to accept the donation.

“The ballfield is a go,” city administrator Brian Hagen later commented. “Next is to obtain updated quotes. We need go out and get a second set of quotes due to bidding laws, and we’ll bring back final quotes for approval at a later council meeting.”

The council approval “at least gives us clear direction,” to move forward with the project, Hagen added.

The newly redesigned field will be configured for official baseball tournaments.

The project spurred controversy and opposition due to the proposed removal of five old oak trees. Meantime, the new project will include planting of six new oak trees and six other species in the outfield area.

The tree planting and other redesign items total $74,800. With a Twins grant ($17,500) and acceptance of the HAA $50,000 donation, the anticipated city contribution for the redesign items is about $7,300, Hagen estimated.

Construction is expected to commence in early spring/late summer.

“We’ll continue to coordinate with youth ball, and we’ll work around their season and make sure we don’t disrupt that any more than we need to,” Hagen said.

He estimated the new redesigned ballfield at Settlers Park will be open by end of summer.

PRINCIPAL USE

In other news, the council discussed an ordinance amendment pertaining to principal uses, buildings and eligibilities.

In January, the council reviewed an amendment to principal uses and buildings that was forwarded from the Planning Commission.

“Significant discussion occurred, particularly regarding the impact on building eligibilities and larger properties,” city planner Cindy Nash said in her memo to the council.

She said interested property owners attended the January and February Planning Commission meetings and provided input. After much discussion, the Planning Commission provided guidance that it would desire the following to occur related to these various issues:

1. Residential Districts should be allowed to have only one principal use and one principal building.

2. Commercial and Industrial districts should be allowed to have more than one principal use and more than one principal building, and that those principal uses can be the same use occurring in multiple buildings.

3. In order to utilize building eligibilities, the parcels that have more than one building eligibility should be subdivided. Even if more than one building eligibility exists, only one residence or principal use should be constructed on any one parcel.

The council ended up approving the amendment.

In other action, the council:

SET Saturday, March 25, for a Goal Facilitating Meeting with the city council, planning commission, park board, city staff and consultants to discuss what projects the city should focus on during the next couple years.

HEARD that accounting clerk Liz Lindrud has resigned and accepted another position. The city will be taking applications through March 31. Lindrud’s last day is April 10.

APPROVED purchase of a new combination grass rig/medical response vehicle, and replacing the old grass rig.