By Reg Chapman

BLAINE, Minn. (WCCO) — One of the fastest growing areas of the Twin Cities is experiencing growing pains.

A school district and a brew pub both hope to expand on the same block in Blaine.

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Invictus Brewing Company wants to put a taproom right next to the National Sports Center and soccer fields on 105th Avenue Northeast.

On that same block, Spring Lake Park Schools is hoping to buy or lease land for a new school to handle the growing number of families moving to the area.

The problem is a city ordinance which requires a 500-foot buffer between schools and businesses that sell booze.

Previn Solberg wants to bring the first brew pub to Blaine.

“Our plan is to have nice green space to the north end, a nice patio, and solar panels on the roof,” he said.

Invictus Brewing would take advantage of the 4 million people a year who visit the National Sports Center.

“We felt it would be a really good place for someone who is attending a soccer event at the National Sports Center to come on over and have a beer between games, maybe get a burger, bite to eat and just kind of hang out and relax until their next game,” Solberg said.

But Spring Lake Park School District has plans of its own.

It wants to buy nearly 20 acres on that same block to build an elementary school.

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“They are running out of space and my understanding is that by 2018 they are going to be over capacity,” Solberg said.

While Solberg and his business partners support the district’s efforts to expand, Blaine Mayor Tom Ryan says a city ordinabce keeps both the taproom and the school from existing on the same block.

“City ordinate says 500 feet and that may not make sense, because kids don’t walk off a playground and go to a brewery,” Ryan said.

Spring Lake Park District spokesperson Bob Noyed says building next to the 600-plus acre Sports Center is the most affordable option.

He says they do have an alternative site, near 109th and Lexington, but no final decision has been made.

For the mayor, a brew pub will make money for the city, where a school keeps the property off the tax rolls.

“The more we get back on the tax rolls, back to jobs, the better off we are going to be,” Ryan said.

He says the city council is waiting on proposals from both the taproom and District 16.

He is not sure if the council will consider amending the ordinance to allow both to exist in the same area.

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The mayor hopes to have the issue settled by spring.

Reg Chapman