A dispute over private property next to Big Marine Park Reserve near Scandia has erupted again as landowner Brent Reibel told the County Board he would never sell for park expansion.
“I won’t sell. My kids won’t sell. My kids’ kids won’t sell,” Reibel told commissioners last week. “I don’t care if you want to give me $50 million. It won’t happen.”
Reibel had sued the county to stop its efforts to declare existence of a road that someday could link parkland to the south of his 17-acre property with a planned county campground to the north. District Judge Elizabeth Martin ruled in March that Washington County had no grounds to establish a road across his property, but Reibel remains suspicious of county officials.
“I want the right to do anything I want with this property,” he told commissioners. “I’ve recorded every conversation … if you want to hear some corruption, I’ve got it.”
Commissioner Gary Kriesel said he took exception to Reibel’s suggestion that the county was doing something illegal. The county “is using the willing seller approach. We’re not using eminent domain,” he said.
Over the years, the county has been buying private land from “willing sellers” to add to the park. A portion of the envisioned 1,800-acre park opened in 2008 with a beach, boat launch, picnic areas and trails on the south end of Big Marine Lake.
Commissioners attend national conference
Lisa Weik, who chairs the Washington County Board, and Vice Chair Autumn Lehrke recently joined 2,300 fellow county officials during the 2013 National Association of Counties annual conference. The theme of this year’s annual conference was, “Why Counties Matter.”
Lehrke said she worked on behalf of veterans at the conference. “One of the big issues facing our veterans is unemployment and credentials,” she said. “A service member will have saved lives while in service, but when they return from deployment, they are not even acknowledged as EMTs. This next year, the committee’s focus will be to address this issue so that our service members can get credit for the skills they have obtained while serving our great country.”
Weik said that Washington County, as a “border county,” has greater economic development challenges and the county “can learn much from other county officials who’ve developed best practices in their home states.” She said she will monitor whether benefits to taxpayers exceed the increasing costs of belonging to the national organization.
Volunteers needed for Turkeys for Teens
Youth Service Bureau seeks volunteers who want to Strike a Difference for youth and families in a November event.
On Nov. 10, the bureau will host “Turkeys for Teens — Strike a Difference,” a family bowling event at Stillwater Bowl. Volunteers are needed to help distribute promotional materials and collect prizes before the event, and register guests, serve food and take photos at the event.
Money raised will help youth and families with chemical health services, suicide prevention support and education on topics such as bullying or theft. Contact Allissa at 651-439-8800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Library parking lot closes for surfacing
Resurfacing of Oakdale Library’s parking lot and other outdoor reconstruction projects began Monday, Aug. 19. The library will remain open during construction but there will be limited access to the parking lot.