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Northfield votes on recreational center

  • 78,000-square-foot multi-purpose, year-round space
  • Increased sales, property taxes may finance construction
  • City rejected the plan to partner with St. Olaf 

During the upcoming midterm elections on Nov. 6, residents of Northfield and Dundas will vote on a tax proposal to raise funds for the construction of a new multi-purpose recreational facility in Northfield.

The facility will be called the Cannon River Civic Center and will be a 78,000-square-foot multi-use, year-round space capable of hosting numerous community activities and events. The Civic Center will include two sheets of ice that local Northfield hockey teams will use, as well as multiple meeting and community rooms. The indoor multi-use area will be for other sports including baseball, softball and tennis.

The Northfield Ice Arena Advisory Board’s recommendation prompted the new facility’s construction. The Board concluded that the current Northfield Ice Arena, constructed in 1975, is no longer keeping up with demands surrounding accessibility, maintenance and seating capacity.

“Primary users of the existing ice arena have indicated that they have a need for 50% more ice in the prime season (October – March),” according to the Northfield city website.

The city of Northfield, in partnership with the Northfield Hockey Association and the Northfield Ice Arena Advisory Board, chose the Civic Center plan over four alternative plans. These included an upgrade to the current ice arena, a partnership with St. Olaf to build a second ice rink on College property and the construction of a new facility with only one ice-sheet.

The city rejected the plan to partner with St. Olaf for construction of a second ice rink on College property due to logistical problems and exorbitant costs. In order to be more accessible, a new road would have to be built to the rink. Moreover, the cost to attach a new rink to Skoglund would be extremely high compared to the construction of a new facility.   

The Northfield Ice Arena Advisory Board sees the development of the new Cannon River Civic Center as a cost-effective, long-term solution that will meet current and future program growth. The facility will economically benefit  the local community as well, generating a projected $1.8 million from hockey tournaments each year.

A public-private partnership will finance the new Civic Center. The future location – seven acres of donated land on the south end of Northfield – represent an estimated $850,000 market value, according to the website. The city also expects that grants, naming rights, advertising and sale of the current arena will generate  $2 million, and community members’ projects will contribute $3.4 million. The remaining funding for the project will come from the sales and property taxes that will be voted on Nov. 6.

Northfield and Dundas residents will vote to approve a one-half percent local option sales tax. The increase, which will not impact the sale of groceries or clothing, is expected by the City to generate $7 million over 20 years.

Northfield residents will also vote to approve an increase in property taxes to generate $8.8 million over a 20-year term. In addition to financing the Civic Center, the city will use these funds to maintain and improve parks, trails and other recreational facilities throughout Northfield and Dundas.

“A portion of sales tax will be available for: an estimated $2.6 million for the City of Northfield and $420,000 for the City of Dundas over 20 years, for the betterment of recreation, parks, and trails,” according to the website.

Imminent Brewing Company will host an informational event on Monday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. Alongside this event, tours of the existing Northfield Ice Arena will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. for those eager to learn more about the current facility as well as the proposed construction of the new Civic Center.