City weighs purchase of riverside parcel for park

A former gravel mine could become the city's largest park in a $225,000 deal, according to City Manager Pat Hentges. The 200-acre parcel near the Le Sueur River was offered by private owner Old Castle Materials Inc. Hentges said it's attractive not only for the scenic value, but also for its proximity to the city's aquifer.

"We get a lot of our domestic water from shallow wells along the Minnesota and Blue Earth Rivers," said Hentges.

The land sits to the southwest of Mankato outside city limits, and Hentges said he's hopeful that Blue Earth County officials will help acquire the parcel. Some limited recreational uses with docks, trails and shelters could be built. A deal isn't expected until the first of the year at the earliest, Hentges said.

Old Castle Materials Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, bills itself as the nation's leading producer of asphalt.

Matt McKinney @_mattmckinney


City designates Historic Arts & Theater District

The Duluth City Council has designated a stretch of downtown as the Historic Arts & Theater District — HART District for short.

The goal is to make Superior Street, from Lake Avenue to Ninth Avenue E., known for its restored historic buildings, theaters and arts, including culinary arts in restaurants.

A city parking ramp will have a sign with a new HART logo, and banners will be hung throughout the district, said City Councilor Sharla Gardner, who drafted the resolution at the request of business owners.

The street already boasts art spaces, including theaters, and restored historic buildings including the former city hall, which now contains a restaurant. Its crowning jewel will eventually be a restored NorShor Theatre, Gardner said.

The aim is to make the area a destination "like Canal Park is a destination," she said. "It was very exciting to me to see the business owners coming together and to work with them."

Pam Louwagie @pamlouwagie


Parks known by numbers might get names

Parks in Kandiyohi County don't have names. Instead, they're numbered: Park No. 1, Park No. 4, etc.

It's a straightforward system, but hard to keep straight — especially since park numbers don't correspond to addresses. Park No. 3, for example, is on County Road 4.

The county is looking at replacing the numbers with names, the West Central Tribune reports. "We've come to the conclusion that it's very confusing," said Roger Imdieke, Fourth District commissioner.

Next, the County Board will discuss what to name the parks. Should their names correspond to the lakes on which they sit? The board plans to sort things out by Jan. 1.

Jenna Ross @ByJenna