Dakota Park, Keller Baseball Field undergo renovations

Minnesota Twins, Toro Company sponsor construction


Grace Farley

A TORO Volunteer measures the size of first base to shift the center of the base to align with the foul line, Oct. 4.

Dani Orloff

When freshman baseball player Sam Hunt evaluates the renovations occurring on the Park baseball and softball fields Oct. 4, he said he believes they will help the team enhance their skills.

“I think it will give our guys a little more confidence as well as a better quality training facility that will hopefully help us improve as a team,” Hunt said.

According to Minnesota Twins senior manager of community relations Stephanie Johnson, every year the Twins and the Toro Company partner to renovate youth softball or baseball fields within the community.

“This (is) our eighth year of doing the project,” Johnson said. “Both companies donate $10,000 to the project, and we kind of move around the Twin Cities every year to find a different community to reach out to.”

Johnson said the companies chose the St. Louis Park community in part because of the robust youth baseball program as well as other factors.

“We hadn’t done anything in St. Louis Park to date, so we reached out to the city of St. Louis Park just to ask if they have any projects that they needed help with, anything they’ve been dying to renovate that they hadn’t had the funds to do quite yet,” Johnson said. “They said that they had some work at Keller Field at Dakota Park that needed to be done and we just kind of went from there.”

Junior softball player Savannah Romero said she feels the renovations of the softball fields prove the team as a whole is getting stronger.

“(The renovations) will be cool because if you can see, there are a lot of baseball fields everywhere, so they favor baseball, so having a nice softball field will show that we are improving as a team and are just as good as the baseball team,” Romero said.

According to Johnson, the renovations are going to occur with the help of representatives from both the Minnesota Twins and the Toro Company.

“Each company is going to bring about 30 employees out and then also the Twins Grounds Crew is going to be out there to help with the renovations,” Johnson said. “(The companies) will donate money and our volunteer time to renovate (Dakota Park and Keller Field) tomorrow.”

Romero said she thinks the renovations will give the players more confidence by establishing a home field for the team.

“We had to cut practices short to share (the field) with other people in the community, so I feel like having our own field that we can actually call our home field will give us confidence and something we can be proud of,” Romero said.  

Johnson said the renovations include updates to the paint, fields and drainage systems.

“We will be doing some work on the fencing at both Keller Field, as well as the two softball parks that are also at Dakota Park. We’ll also be doing some working on the pitching mound at Keller Field (and) some painting touch-ups,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of stuff on the docket. It will be a busy day but should be a lot of fun.”

Hunt said he looks forward to the impact renovating the drainage system of the field will haveon the season.

“I am most excited about the fixing of the drainage system at our field because the field didn’t drain at all last year and caused us to have to cancel games,” Hunt said.

According to Johnson, weather-permitting, the outfield will also receive renovations.

“The plan was to do a bunch of work in the outfield as well to help draining issues and some new sod,” Johnson said. “It may be a little too wet to do it tomorrow but the project will still pay for the sod once the St. Louis Park maintenance staff puts that in if we are not able to do that tomorrow.”

Johnson said the Minnesota Twins are excited to be a part of the renovations.

“The Twins Community Fund, which is the club’s non-profit arm, focuses on youth baseball and softball work and getting more kids competitive and safe places to play baseball and so that’s what this project is all about. So, we’re happy to be there,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, the renovations will take place on Oct. 4.