Rec center: ‘Still a lot of moving pieces,’ plan in motion for opening

The Lino Lakes City Council is considering a rookery theme for the future rec center to pay tribute to its great blue heron rookery. The bird is featured in the city’s logo, on its newest water tower and even on the carved backdrop behind the council dais in City Hall. 

LINO LAKES — City Council members and city staff acknowledge that there are a lot of moving pieces that all still have to come together, but come April 1, the doors may be open to the new recreation center at the former YMCA building. 

The council has officially approved a resolution that affirms its support of the opening of the Lino Lakes Activity Center (name to be determined) with a target opening date of April 1. (See “Council gets first glance at possible rec center name,” Nov. 9.) 

“Coming up in March, it will have been two years since the Y closed,” Mayor Rob Rafferty said. “We have pieces that are still unsolved but we need to try to move forward and try to see what we can do to get some things in line … There are a lot of moving pieces; the problem is, we are trying to make sure those pieces are moving together in the right direction.” 

Council Member Tony Cavegn, who previously expressed some hesitancy on giving the project the green light, said he was now comfortable supporting the project after city staff spent a “a lot of time” with him to explain things. 

“I had some reservations on this. I want to thank staff. You spent a lot of time with me on this helping to explain this,” he said. “There are a lot of things that still need to be resolved. There is also a theory in business that if you wait to open a business until you have all of the answers, you probably waited too long and missed the opportunity. So, with that in mind, I am in favor of moving forward with this.” 

Council Member Christopher Lyden said he supports the rec center opening back up and thinks the city has just the group to make that happen by April 1. 

“The leadership from (City Administrator Sarah) Cotton down to our department heads and consultants is nothing short of awesome. If there is a team that can make this April 1 deadline happen, it is this team. I believe in this team,” Lyden said.

“The name is important, but what is so much more vital is what the facility means to the citizens of Lino Lakes,” he continued. “Whether you are 1 year old or 100 years old, it is about health, wellness, fitness and sport. It is about a place our community can call home. It will be one of the best places to put joy in one’s heart. (Days from now) we are going to open this facility.” 

The council will likely approve a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with an area fitness provider soon. 


Managing Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or

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