On Tuesday, the commissioners gave the green light to appraise the 84-acre St. Paul Jewish Community Center property, which is located within the boundaries of Lebanon Hills. The property has been home to the JCC’s Camp Butwin since 1958, and currently features a 200-person capacity lodge, outdoor swimming pool, equestrian barn, athletic fields, and trails.
The JCC has expressed interest in selling the fee title for 12.5 acres to the county. Those acres could be added to Lebanon Hills Regional Park. The JCC has also shown interest in selling a combination conventional conservation easement and a limited development conservation easement on 40.1 acres. A limited development conservation easement would mean the land would be protected from becoming residential property in the future, but would still allow for future development of Camp Butwin. An easement would also make the property eligible for state natural resource management funding.
So what happens next? The board has authorized the property appraisal and the results will be shared with the JCC as part of the negotiation process. Following completion of the appraisal, the Board could choose to make formal acquisition offers for the property.
Lebanon Hills Regional Park is currently nearly 2,000 acres in size—making it the largest park in the Dakota County park system.