Commission approves site plan for Joe O’Brien Field

Published 5:56 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

Even with the season at an end, the Elizabethton Twins were still able to find a way to get into scoring position Thursday evening.

It all came to fruition Thursday evening when the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan for a new clubhouse at Joe O’Brien Field, the home of the local Minnesota Twins Minor League Baseball affiliate.

Consider it a bit of needed momentum for the Twins’ longevity in the city. The decision to approve the site plan fell not even 24 hours after the Elizabethton Twins were able to secure their second consecutive MiLB Appalachian League title under the direction of Manager Ray Smith.

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Thursday was a step in the right direction according to Elizabethton Twins General Manager and City Parks & Rec Director Mike Mains. While the site plan for the new clubhouse — which would be located behind the scoreboard in right field — did receive approval, the steps moving forward now is to sure up funding and have the final plan go for approval by City Council and the Minnesota front office.

Mains added it has been a long process, but thanked the city’s planning department for their assistance, including staff members Ronda Sawyer and Alyssa Adams.

The development of the site plan was performed by Populous, Inc., based out of Kansas City, Mo. Mains added the group has had their fair share of success of creating parks and that several days went into putting together the right plan to benefit both parties.

After going through several locations, Mains added the final decision was made to have the site plan near the maintenance shed behind the scoreboard. According to the plan, the project includes the construction of a new 6,200 square foot building, a new parking lot and other appurtenances.

The clubhouse was scheduled to go before the Commission last month, but was taken off the agenda prior to the meeting so that additional changes could be made to the design, Mains said. Along with the creation of a new clubhouse, the site plan also calls for improvements to the face of the back wall behind home plate.

Over two years in the making, the approval of the site plan is a step in the right direction said Mains. The director added that the plan moving forward is to come together on a funding plan for the project. Once an agreement can be made, it would be brought before the City Council for a vote.

Mains added that Joe O’Brien Field will be an asset to not only Minnesota, but for Elizabethton High School. He added that the Twins used the facility for two-and-a-half months a year, with the remaining of the time going toward the benefit of the community.

Chairman Paul Bellamy commended the work performed by Mains and others involved to help sure up the site plan, adding that the Parks & Rec Department does a great job with the facility.