Top 10 of 2015: #6 Community Members Fight to Save Clark Field
ST. CLOUD - We continue our countdown of the Top 10 local news stories of 2015 with a look back at our #6 story of the year.
After the St. Cloud area school district developed a plan in the spring/summer to tear down Clark Field and put in a $25 million building on the site for early childhood and other programs, many in the community became frustrated and upset with the decision. In meetings that followed, citizens urged district administration to save the field.
Ruth Kaczor with the “Friends of Clark Field” group told the district several times that Clark Field has many future advantages for the community.
“We believe that Clark Field is premium green space and we don’t want to surrender it to a building. It’s potential to serve in the future extends far beyond its reach today to include community events, mutliple sports at every age level and outdoor activities that promote the health and vitality of our youth.”
Superintendent Willie Jett made an announcement in mid-November that the district was haulting demolition of the field.
“We are not moving forward with the demolition of Clark Field at this time. We will be exploring all options now,” Jett told a packed crowd last month.
The district is now up against the clock to find a future spot for early childhood. The programs are temporarily in Colts Academy in St. Joseph. The district has sold the building to the city and needs to vacate it by July 1st 2017. Jett said during the meeting that they need to work fast to find an alternate plan for the programs, or the district will run out of time to create an early childhood facility.
Since then, the Friends of Clark Field group has been meeting regularly to come up with a plan for the future of early childhood and the field. The group recently suggested several sites for a possible future home for early childhood programs: the corner of Highway 15 and Veterans Drive (Apollo HS), land adjacent to North Junior High, South Junior High and Oak Hill, and the proposed site of a new Tech High School.
The group is also meeting with the architect who developed the original Clark Field renovation proposal to determine what it would take to meet the needs of current students.
Clark Field opened in 1942 and was closed to Tech varsity football in 2012 due to mold and structural concerns.