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City targets UMore land for park

Construction of new homes in the University of Minnesota's proposed UMore Park development could still be years away, but some work on the property could start as early as this year.

The city of Rosemount is working with the U of M to acquire a pre-dedication of parkland in a development that could be home to as many as 30,000 residents by the time it's fully built. The 27-acre property the city has targeted would be home to a full-size baseball field and four other fields for youth baseball and softball.

The property in question is located on Akron Avenue near Dakota County Technical College and the new soccer complex that opened there last year. Rosemount parks and recreation director Dan Schultz said the DCTC baseball team would likely use the full-size field, which would eventually include dugouts and bleachers.

All developers who build in Rosemount are required to either set aside parkland or contribute to a parks and recreation fund as they build their projects, and there will be more parks developed as the UMore project progresses. But Schultz called the pre-dedication a way to get progress in motion a little early.

Schultz said the U of M has an interest in building something the community can use and the city has recognized a need for additional recreation space.

The city did something similar with what is now Shannon Park, working with developers to identify 20 acres of parkland before construction started.

Schultz presented the pre-dedication plan to members of the Rosemount Parks and Recreation Commission on March 29. He hopes to start work on the project later this spring and have everything ready to use next year.

The first phases of the project will install the basics -- fencing and backstops, for example -- but the plan is for the complex to grow from there.

"We've got plans for batting cages and things like that, but our goal is to just get the core facilities there," Schultz said.