6247 Bloomington Road
St. Paul, MN 55111
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Neiman Sports Complex is located on 50 acres of land the Park Board leases from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in Fort Snelling State Park.
The Park Board owns 17 acres of land adjacent to Neiman Sports Complex, most of which is leased to the Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center, a private non-profit organization. The Park Board also operates Fort Snelling Golf Club and maintains (but does not own) a short section of trail connecting Neiman Sports Complex to Minnehaha Trail within Fort Snelling State Park.
The Minneapolis park board’s first presence at Fort Snelling State Park occurred in 1992 when the park board leased an existing 9-hole golf course from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The land covered by that seven-year lease totaled 50 acres. When the lease expired in 1999, the park board leased an additional 50 acres, extending the lease for the entire property for 30 years, and purchased 17 acres more for additional recreation facilities.
With the additional land leased in 1999, the park board had the space to develop the competition-quality athletic fields that had been recommended by a Select Committee on Youth Sports in 1997. The park board also considered developing state-of-the-art fields at Bryn Mawr Park, but the Fort Snelling site was selected instead.
In 2001 construction began on a complex of athletic fields that now includes three softball fields, two baseball fields and eight soccer fields, all of which have lights for play at night. The softball and baseball fields also have bleachers.
When construction began the park board chose to honor Leonard H. Neiman by naming the complex for him. Neiman was a park commissioner 1967-1978 and was a leader of the Southwest Activities Council (SWAC), which included Linden Hills Park and Pershing Park. He was a youth football coach and a played a central role in making SWAC one of the leading park activity councils in the city. As a park commissioner he was a passionate supporter of youth sports programs. Neiman’s son, Scott, was also a park commissioner, 1982-2002, and served as president of the park board.
The playing fields opened for competition in 2003. In 2012 Neiman Sports Complex (along with Parade Park) hosted the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series, in which 24 elite youth baseball and softball teams from around the United States and Dominican Republic competed in three divisions.
An existing building on the Fort Snelling site that was unused and did not fit into plans for the complex was sold to the Boy Scouts in 2007.
Fields 1 and 2 were redone in 2015.
Fred Wells Tennis and Education Center
The third facility created at the site was developed by a private, non-profit organization on a portion of the 17 acres of land the park board purchased in 1999: a tennis complex with both indoor and outdoor courts. The center provides programs to encourage athletic and academic excellence. The center was developed with a gift of $5 million in 2000 from the Wells Family Fund.
It was not the Wells family’s first involvement with Minneapolis parks. In 1927, the four children of Frederick and Mary Wells, who was the daughter of Frank Peavey, had donated to the park board the 3.4-acre site of Peavey’s former home at Park Avenue and East 22nd Street. The gift stipulated that the park be named for Frank Peavey. Now considerably larger, Peavey Park extends north to Franklin Avenue. Frank Peavey was also a donor to the park system. In 1891 he donated the first fountain in a city park. The fountain he donated at the intersection of Kenwood Parkway and Lake of the Isles parkway remains there today.
Park history compiled and written by David C. Smith.