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Dakota County is seeking to use eminent domain to complete the purchases because the properties in question are in the middle of the park and bisect it, thwarting the development and use of the park as outlined in a master plan, county parks director Steve Sullivan told the judge. That plan was adopted by county commissioners in 2003.
The land is also needed to complete a segment of the 27-mile, paved Mississippi River Regional Trail between South St. Paul and Hastings, Sullivan said.
Sixteen miles of the trail are already built. Five to six miles are planned to cross Spring Lake Park over the properties being sought. The $3 million federal grant to build that segment requires that the county control the land for the trail by March 31, Sullivan said.
With bluffs, river shoreline, ravines, terraces, forests, two springs and archaeological remains, the area outlined as the park is “a special place within the metro area,” Sullivan said.
Laurie Blake • 952-746-3287