by Jeffrey Hage
A .71-acre strip of land between Big Lake and Lake Mitchell could soon be owned by the City of Big Lake.
The State of Minnesota is looking to sell the 475-foot long by 65-foot wide piece of land that includes the channel between the two lakes.
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is looking to dispose of the property and the City of Big Lake has become a suitor, in part, because it can preserve the land for use by the public.
“There has been a lot of behind-the-scenes work with the state,” Big Lake City Engineer Layne Otteson told members of the Big Lake City Council on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
While Sherburne County lists the value of the property at $3,900, Otteson told the city council he hopes the city can secure the land for a mere $1.
While Otteson and DNR officials had been hoping that a deal could simply be completed between the two agencies, that wasn’t the case. An ownership transfer must gain approval from the Minnesota Legislature and Gov. Tim Walz, Otteson said.
For that reason, the Big Lake City Council, on Feb. 10, passed a resolution supporting the sale of the land parcel from the State of Minnesota to the City of Big Lake.
By acquiring the land, the city would have greater flexibility in making repairs to the channel. That’s because it could make repairs to “it’s” property as opposed to going through the red tape needed to make repairs on property owned by a state agency- or private owner, for that matter.
The channel is in need of some immediate repairs, such as the replacing of one of the caps over the composite material on the east side of the channel that makes up the channel walls.
Owning the land would also benefit the channel allowing the city to search out grant opportunities for channel repairs, dredging, bank protection, and vegetation restoration, Otteson said.
The city made improvements to the channel between Big Lake and Lake Mitchell in 2007 that included straightening the channel that resulted in better boat access between the two lakes.