New Hope Considers Test Run of Expanded Cooper Stadium Use
After listening to neighbor concerns, the New Hope City Council moved to allow a one-year test run that expands the use of Cooper High School stadium to non-district residents.
The Robbinsdale School District current conditional use permit (CUP) limits use of the stadium’s multiuse turf field to youth, 50 percent of whom must live in the district. The New Hope City Council would eliminate those requirements, but wants to see how expanding the use of the stadium will impact neighbors during a one-year trial period.
The district wants to amend its CUP due to requests from outside groups to use the stadium. One school official noted at Monday’s night city council meeting that she doesn’t know one school district that doesn’t rent out its multiuse fields to outside groups. Cooper’s situation is somewhat unique in that the high school is surrounded on all sides in New Hope by neighborhood residents. The New Hope City Council will hold a final vote on the one-year test period May 13.
Concerns Range from Trash to Traffic
Neighbors who live next to the stadium expressed many concerns should the city agree to expand its use. Some wondered would pick up the trash in around the stadium.
“Now, Cooper’s a good school. They just aren’t good neighbors when it comes to cleaning up the trash,” said Joe Inserra, who lives next to Cooper High School. Inserra said he and his wife consistently pick up trash outside the stadium while out for a walk.
The school district is supposed to have a trash plan in place. That plan includes using student-athletes to help with trash pickup. Under the list of requirements proposed, renters would also have to place a deposit for litter and trash removal.
Other neighbors told council members about traffic safety concerns and speeding. Neighbors also wanted limits to the use of the school’s PA system for non-district events. The New Hope City Council would place a limit of four additional PA uses for non-district events between June 1 and Aug. 15.
“We don’t know who the groups are that are coming in. Senior groups or whatever. So a one-year trial would give us that opportunity. I’m not against people using the stadium. But a lot of neighbors, a lot of neighbors are very concerned,” said Andy Hoffe, a New Hope City Council member.
Need for Facilities
The district is pushing for the proposal saying it received requests from youth soccer and lacrosse groups. An adult soccer group also sought to use the stadium. New Hope City Council member Jonathan London said he understands the need for outside groups to use the stadium, but understands neighbor concerns as well.
“I do understand everyone’s concerns, but I do realize with what’s happening with private sports associations like Fusion Soccer Club in Plymouth, like Park Valley Soccer Association. Many of these are going away from the school districts, park and rec sports, where it was New Hope Park and Rec. That’s a different time, 30 years ago,” said London. “Today, these private associations are where most kids play and they rent these facilities from the various districts.”
The city also mentioned using the stadium for a possible “movies in the park” event or an arts and craft fair. Places to hold such events in New Hope are limited this year due to construction at Civic Center Park.
Request for New Video Scoreboard
In addition to expanding use of the stadium, the Robbinsdale School District wants to install a video scoreboard, replacing existing the scoreboard at the south end of the Cooper High School stadium. The New Hope City Council said that request would get approved as part of the CUP amendment to expand the use of the stadium for a one-year trial period.
District officials also mentioned plans to rent out Armstrong High School’s turf stadium in Plymouth. That’s something the Plymouth City Council would have to approve.