NORTH MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — North Mankato’s Caswell Park is a big draw for sporting events.
Now, the city is hoping to up the appeal with a big expansion.
The City of North Mankato is making investments to improve the growth of the town and its economy, especially in the sports world.
“It really helps us cement North Mankato as that leader of sports tourism in this area,” Caswell Sports Director Phil Tostenson said.
Plans are in the works for a $5 million upgrade to Caswell Sports Complex.
“[Caswell] continues to bring us those opportunities to bring in tournaments and make us the leader in this region. The five, six, seven-state region,” Tostenson said.
The upgrades will include changes to the softball and soccer fields, which are scheduled to begin in September, along with a potential indoor recreation facility.
City officials are hopeful the expansion will make Caswell Sports Complex the jewel of southern Minnesota.
“When you give the user a good experience, not on the field, but the amenities outside of the playing surface, you know with some of the shade structures and upgrades, you know people will remember that type of thing,” Tostenson said.
These changes are meant to not only help the park but the local economy as well.
“Pretty much every weekend is booked solid at Caswell and we are seeing the ripple effects of that. As you know, there is a new hotel being constructed on Commerce Drive. A big desire of their part to be in North Mankato was that summer traffic from out-of-town teams,” North Mankato Public Works Director Nate Host said.
The soccer fields will have artificial turf installed, while the upgrades at the softball fields will focus on improving lighting and the potential addition of an indoor facility.
The recreation building has been on the city’s to-do list for a long time now.
“A definite outcry for a need for an indoor recreation facility from the volleyball community and basketball community,” Host said.
They plan to begin work in September and have the work done by winter.
“We recognize the popularity, we recognize the user groups’ needs and desires. We want to be able to deliver that to them.,” Host said.