After months of contention, community members and the Scandia City Council have reached an agreement to renovate a small rural boat landing on the St. Croix River.

Late last month, the council approved a committee’s recommendation to replace the dirt road leading to the Log House Landing with a 13-foot-wide paved lane.

The decision was made after a citizens group, Friends of the Log House Landing, approached city officials with concerns about the preservation of the site, which for decades has been a backwater launching spot for canoeists and kayakers.

Some community members have long opposed changes to the more than 150-year-old landing and have pressed the council to maintain the original contour of the road while preventing the removal of trees.

Streambank erosion prompted the action to improve the site. In October, the Log House Landing Advisory Committee — made up of City Council, Planning Commission, Watershed District and community members — was appointed to research renovation options.

On a 3-2 vote, the City Council approved most of the committee’s recommendations. However, it voted to install a paved parking lane instead of a gravel surface, which had been specified by the committee.

“This is a really solid compromise,” said Pam Plowman Smith, an advisory committee member.

Some committee members, however, including Christine Maefsky, who is also chairwoman of the city’s planning commission, pushed the council last week to consider alternatives to an asphalt parking lane, including putting down an erosion-resistant gravel.

“We felt that it was a viable option,” Maefsky said.

Councilman Chris Ness, however, said the city plans to move ahead with plans for a paved parking lane.

Construction at the Log House Landing is projected to begin in late summer, pending approval from several state and local government entities.


Blair Emerson is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.