Isanti moves forward with indoor BMX track facility

Isanti is moving forward with plans to build a 73,125-square-foot facility to house an indoor BMX track by the current track near Bluebird Park.

During the Isanti City Council meeting Tuesday, May 6, the council approved plans and authorization to advertise for bids for Bluebird Park parking improvements, Isanti BMX facility construction and Public Works parking improvements.

According to a staff memo by Economic Development Director Sean Sullivan, the proposed building would have the ability to open doors during nice weather in spring-summer months and have them closed during the cooler months. The project would hook up to the city sewer, water and storm system. Preliminary project cost estimates for the building are $1.58 million.

The Rum River BMX Association will occupy the building for the term of the proposed lease and operate the facility according to the lease terms. Included in the building will be two sets of bathrooms and a concession area. The north bathrooms, adjacent to the concession area, are proposed to be operated and maintained by Rum River BMX. Bathrooms located at the south end of the building are proposed to be operated and maintained by the city of Isanti.

The city will also construct a 122-stall parking lot directly east of the facility. The preliminary project costs for the new parking lost is $250,000. The parking lot will be maintained by the city and the lease will define its use by Rum River BMX.

Construction for the proposed project is expected to commence upon completion of the BMX summer season in late September 2014. Completion and occupancy of the project by Rum River BMX is anticipated by Feb. 1, 2015.

In a letter to Rum River BMX from USA BMX, the world’s largest sanctioning body for the sport of bicycle motocross racing, USA BMX states if a facility is constructed in Isanti, it will commit to ensuring that no new indoor facilities are granted sanctioning within a 100-mile radius of Isanti. This would remain in effect for 10 years, as long as the current track operator remains in place. If the current track operator would leave, USA BMX would revisit the commitment. The letter also states that while USA BMX would not force the closure of Rehbeins Arena BMX in Lino Lakes, it is USA BMX’s understanding that the facility would close if a new indoor track is available in Minnesota.

Rusty Fifield, from Northland Securities, prepared a memo outlining a financing scenario that would utilize tax abatement bonds. The term of the proposed bonds would be 15 years. Total debt service, including interest associated with a $1.79 million bond issue amount, is $2.21 million. This method of financing doesn’t require a referendum vote, and a decision to utilize this financing method can be done with a public hearing and vote by City Council.

The proposed lease with Rum River BMX is a 40-year lease that commences Feb. 1, 2015. Generally speaking, the full lease payments commence in July 2015 and are adjusted annually with a 2.5 percent inflator.

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer explained needed projects at the Public Works building would be included with the overall financing package so the city can get the best financing methods possible.

In other action, the City Council approved:

  • A request from the Isanti Redbirds to construct two standard batting cages enclosed with 6-foot high chain link fencing on the property at 620 Third Ave. NW (Sportsman Field). The Redbirds had previously planned on putting in a retractable batting cage, but it proved to be too costly.
  • A special event application from the Rum River Rods to host weekly car shows from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesdays on Main Street in downtown Isanti. Shows will run from June 4 through Aug. 27. Setup will begin at 5 p.m. and an estimated 50-60 cars will participate. Patrons are asked to bring a nonperishable food item to be donated to Family Pathways Food Pantry. A car show finale will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 16 on Main Street. There will be a $5 entry fee to the car show finale, with all proceeds donated to Family Pathways.
  • A special event request from the Isanti Area Chamber of Commerce to hold a Bluebird 5K Run-Walk and quarter-mile kids fun run May 17 in Bluebird Park. The event will raise funds toward improvements at the Isanti Community Center and funds for the Chamber. The run opens to the public at 9:30 a.m. and is scheduled to be completed at 11 a.m.
  • The purchase of a 2012 Elgin Pelican street sweeper from MacQueen Equipment in the amount of $133,600, funded entirely by the storm water utility fund. A trade-in of the 1990 Elgin Pelican at $5,600 to MacQueen Equipment was also authorized.
  • The purchase of a 2015 Chevrolet Silverado to be used as a public works service vehicle in the amount of $27,979 from Thane Hawkins Polar Chevrolet in White Bear Lake. The vehicle is included in the 2014 budget.
  • A quote from J. Robinson Construction in the amount of $2,344 for re-roofing projects at Mattson Park Shelter and Isanti Tot Lot Park Shelter.