Dakota County has reached a settlement and dropped condemnation proceedings on the Drews-Mauch family land on the Mississippi River, within the boundaries of the Spring Lake Park Reserve just west of Hastings.
The settlement will allow the county to buy part of the property in order to proceed with construction of a segment of the Mississippi River Regional Trail through the park. It also puts the county in a position to stop development of the land by placing an environmental easement on it.
Ultimately, the settlement also gives the county the first right of purchase for the entire parcel should the family decide to sell its homestead.
When complete in 2015, the trail will stretch 27 miles from St. Paul to Hastings and will be part of the 3,000-mile Mississippi River Trail that will connect Lake Itasca to the Gulf of Mexico.
The county started condemnation proceedings on the land last month in First District Court.
Hastings farmer William Sorg, who also owns land within the boundary of the park reserve, and who is also subject to the condemnation proceedings, was not included in the settlement.
“It is always our preference to negotiate with property owners to reach a purchase agreement,” said Liz Workman, chairwoman of the Dakota County Board of Commissioners.
“With this property purchase, we are excited to move forward with our long-standing plans for expanding Spring Lake Park Reserve and the Mississippi River Regional Trail.”
The settlement agreement is with the Nancy Ann Drews and Jill Diane Mauch family, whose father previously owned the land going back 50 years.
The county will pay $86,000 for the immediate purchase of 1.8 acres for the trail and $250,000 to place a conservation easement over the remaining land, approximately 6.6 acres, excluding the 2-acre home site. The county will not have the option to buy the land until 2034.
The agreement is subject to approval by the County Board.
“My clients truly love their land, and this is their piece of paradise in Minnesota,” said Beverly Aho, the attorney for the family. “Their desire was to be able to enjoy this property with their children and grandchildren, and now they can without threat of it being taken away next week or next year.”