Groundbreaking ceremony marks the beginning of soccer field construction
Construction for the Elliot Park soccer field officially began September 17, as more than 150 North Central University students and faculty, Elliot Park residents and city officials gathered in Elliot Park for the groundbreaking ceremony.
“It’s great to see everyone come out for this day, which has been 2 ½ years in the making,” said Dr. Gordon Anderson, president of North Central University, in a speech at the ceremony.
In the near future, a full-size soccer field with artificial turf will be constructed in Elliot Park. It will serve as the home field for the North Central Men’s and Women’s soccer teams, and as a sports facility for neighborhood soccer activities and tournaments for community residents of all ages.
North Central is partnering with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to pay for the installation of the field, as well as the programing of activities once the field is completed.
“It unfortunately has come to be known as the dust bowl,” Dr. Anderson said. “But we’re going to change that, and turn it into a great sports facility that will serve the neighborhood and the city and all of the people.”
Peter McLaughlin, Hennepin County Commissioner, also spoke at the event, stressing the importance of working together to build soccer fields and sports facilities as an investment in the community and in the city.
“We are here with North Central and the (Minneapolis) Park Board to create a new facility for the 21st century in response to the desires and needs of the people in our community,” McLaughlin said. “These fields are like the United Nations once they are opened up; it’s everyone joining and playing and using the facility, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Anita Tabb, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioner for District 4, emphasized the partnership between the Park Board, North Central and the community in her speech at the ceremony, as she described the process of turning the dream of a full-size soccer field into a reality.
“I remember seeing hundreds of people playing in the dustbowl (2 ½ years ago), and thinking ‘how can we make this a better place?’” she said.
After the Park Board applied for and won a Hennepin county grant to cover part of the construction cost of the soccer field, they were approached by North Central, who proposed expanding the Park Board’s initial idea of a half-size soccer field to a full regulation size field, Tabb said. The Park Board readily accepted North Central’s proposal and has been working ever since to make the soccer field a reality.
“This is only the second soccer field in our system that is full-size,” she said. “Think about the uses of 15-18 year olds we can serve. I am just thrilled this has all been able to come together.”
Jayne Miller, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent, also praised the partnership between North Central, the Park Board and the Elliot Park Neighborhood, calling it a “perfect example” of teamwork.
“The word teamwork is often associated with sports activities and players,” Dr. Anderson said. “But it can also mean the coming together of different talents and ideas to make a project and a neighborhood like ours succeed.”
“I think today we could say we are getting a win out of this,” he said. “A win for the neighborhood and for all the people who live in this area. A win for the city – a great city, a great neighborhood and a great soccer field.”