North Mankato Creates Caswell Sports Fund
Caswell Park has been around in North Mankato since 1985. Spring Lake Park even longer.
But just now the city is turning the two sites into a branded entity, with its own financial structure and everything.
City staff estimates that Caswell Park draws in 35-45,000 visitors every year, and generates between $5-9 million in economic benefit.
With this move, North Mankato will be able to better reflect that activity.
"The fund itself simply gives the public and the city council and better understanding of how the operations are going at the park," City Administrator John Harrenstein said.
Spring Lake Park and the Anthony Ford Pond hockey tournament will be incorporated into the Caswell Sports Fund as well, as will other city organized events like the North Star Bike festival and various 5k races.
"The purpose was to begin taking a look at this as more of an operation and to hone our skills on the income and expenditures that are going through the park," Harrenstein said.
Even with the change, the city expects Caswell Sports will still operate at a loss, even as they pursue a food and beverage tax at the capitol to capture some revenue.
That loss will come out of the general fund, and they say it's worth it.
"If we can keep that operating fund and that subsidy at a bare minimum, I'm really optimistic about this," council member Bob Freyberg said.
"I like the idea that we're expanding Caswell beyond the park and into an actual brand, including the bike race and pond hockey and all those things under the Caswell brand. I think that's a good way to track these different pieces," mayor Mark Dehen said.
-- KEYC News 12.