Minnesota United and Toro deploy irrigated natural grass soccer field at Arlington Hills Community Center – Twin Cities

With Minnesota United mascot PK the loon cheering them on, employees of the professional football franchise and the Toro Company Foundation rolled out sod Thursday at the Arlington Hills Community Center on Payne Avenue.

Toro Company teammates Clay McCarthy, left, and Mike Turbak join other Toro and Minnesota United volunteers as they lay new sod at the Arlington Hills Community Center in St. Paul on Thursday, 2 June 2022. (John Autey/Pioneer Press)

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter and new Director of Parks and Recreation Andy Rodriguez joined representatives from both organizations for the unveiling of a long-awaited upgrade to the community center’s outdoor grounds. The two groups helped fund the installation of an irrigated natural grass football pitch, which is expected to be the first natural grass pitch for recreation centers on the city’s East Side.

The previous playing surface was uneven and unfinished, Rodriguez said, limiting play and events.

Funding included $30,000 from the two companies, $15,000 from the city’s STAR grant funds, and approximately $25,000 in labor and services from Parks and Rec.

“I think this is the start of a great partnership,” Rodriguez said. “The sports teams are really mobilizing. There is a possibility to do something every year. It has been alluded to, but the conversations are continuing. I talk to (Minnesota) United all the time now. They are in our garden.

The St. Paul Saints will begin renovations to the North Dale Rec Center baseball field on St. Albans Street next week. The Saints will bring their mascot and oversee drop-in music and announcements for a handful of recreation center team games at this location on June 11.