Fort Snelling compromise

The Minneapolis Park Board, as part of a larger effort to build and improve sports facilities for youth, plans to build a $12 million sports complex at Fort Snelling. The athletic facility would be built on the Upper Bluff area of Fort Snelling State Park — well away from the actual fort. Opponents of the plan want to preserve the area because it is a historic battlefield. The federal National Park Service denied the Park Board’s proposal, but offered a compromise instead. Although the compromise addresses several needs of both parties, it contains a few flaws.
Mary Merrill Anderson, superintendent of the Park Board, said suburban youth do not use the city’s sports facilities. Adding a furnished athletic complex would attract suburban teams, hopes Anderson. The Park Service recommends “minimizing” fencing and claims there is no need for a fully-fenced field. It may take more than temporary, minimally-equipped fields, however, to attract suburban teams.
The Park Service recommends that the northern third of the Upper Bluffs remain untouched. This area is the closest and most visible to the fort. Currently, much of the field is being used for soccer, Rugby and Frisbee. The Park Service believes by prohibiting permanent structures on the field, they can maintain most of the area’s historical value.
The Park Service’s compromise, aiming to conserve historical integrity while promoting youth sports, might sound well-reasoned. But the Park Board and Anderson envision a more grandiose facility. Although the Park Service’s compromise is well-intentioned, a mutually beneficial solution would not result from its implementation.