3/14/2019 4:09:00 PM Park donation on Sunrise River to be discussed by North Branch Council March 19
The North Branch City Council has received a request from the Schmidt Family and the Trust for Public Land for a letter of city official support to acquire 55 acres for a passive park. The parcel is east of Grand Ave. and north of Highway 95, and has 15 acres abutting the Sunrise River.
The letter would accompany a state funding application to a legislative commission that reviews environmental conservation related expenses of lottery proceeds. If the Minnesota resources commission funding is awarded, the property could be acquired at no cost to the city, the council was told Tuesday night this week.
In open microphone, Murray Schmidt told the city council his family wishes to see the property used passively by the public.
Council will review the proposal in depth at 6:30 p.m. in a work session March 19, at city hall.
Also speaking Tuesday night were Orv Otterness, Syl Marking, Sharon Lundberg and others who said the idea is a “win-win” and would be a special amenity for North Branch. It could attach to Riverwalk Park and create a wild corridor people could hike, near the North Branch of the Sunrise River.
The council was short-handed by two this week. Mayor Jim Swenson and Joel McPherson were absent. Council needs to weigh the park location compared to the value of a tentative by-pass concept in that same area. A by-pass has been discussed that would come north off of Highway 95, travel west approximately along 400th and someday cross I-35 on a new overpass-- to reconnect with #95 in Isanti County. This would alleviate the heavy trucks at the bottleneck in downtown, and present an option for through-traffic around any congestion.
The deadline for Trust for Public Land and the family to submit an application in to the Legislative Commission on Natural Resources is early April.