In a closed meeting Tuesday, March 18, the Dakota County Board of Commissioners reached an agreement in the condemnation case with the Drews/Mauch families on the terms informally agreed to by County and Drews/Mauch families’ representatives late last week. The settlement will be formally approved at the next regularly scheduled County Board meeting March 25.
The land joins more than 5,000 acres of park land that the County has purchased from willing sellers throughout the Dakota County park system.
“It is always our preference to negotiate with property owners to reach a purchase agreement. Working with willing sellers is our preferred approach for parks, road construction and any other land we need for public purposes. It is the way we like to do business. Always have, always will,” Dakota County Board Chair Liz Workman said. “With this property purchase, we are excited to move forward with our longstanding plans for expanding Spring Lake Park Reserve and the Mississippi River Regional Trail.”
The board decision was unanimous, with all commissioners expressing their gratification at the settlement of the condemnation case.
The land in question lies inside the boundaries of Spring Lake Park Reserve, a park which has been in the Dakota County Regional Park System for more than 40 years.
The County’s plans for the newly acquired acreage include the construction of a four-mile segment of paved trail that will connect to the existing Mississippi River Regional Trail. When complete in 2015, the trail will stretch 27 miles from St. Paul to Hastings and will eventually be part of the 3,000-mile national Mississippi River Trail that connects Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.
The settlement agreement with the Drews/Mauch families consists of three parts.
Part one includes immediate fee acquisition by the County of 1.8 acres to enable construction of the Mississippi River Regional Trail. The County will pay $86,000 for this land.
Part two includes immediate acquisition by the County of a conservation easement over the remaining land, approximately 6.6 acres, excluding the 2-acre home site. The County will pay $250,000 for this easement. Dakota County and the families will work together to develop a natural resource management plan for this acreage, including remediation of the environmental contamination on these parcels. The County will be financially responsible to pay for the environmental cleanup. The County may acquire fee title to the 6.6 acres no earlier than 2034, for 20 percent of the appraised value of the land, based upon an appraisal at the time of acquisition.
Part three includes the families granting to the County a right of first refusal and option to purchase the 2-acre home site. The option may be exercised no earlier than the year 2054. The County will pay the appraised value of the home site, based upon an appraisal at the time of acquisition.
These general settlement terms were reached by the parties through good faith negotiations last week.
For more information about plans for the park, visit the Spring Lake Park Reserve Master Plan page. To learn more about the regional trail, visit www.hkgi.com/projects/dakota.