During the city council’s meeting Sept. 21, the Stillwater City Council accepted a $1 million dollar donation from Geri Freels, of the Oak Glen neighborhood.
After voting to accept the donation, mayor Ted Kozlowski left the dais, and presented a large novelty check to the city’s finance director.
The donation will assist the city in the renovation of the former Aiple residence in Lumberjack Landing into a multi-use park building. Her desire to help share her and her late husband’s, Frank Freels, love of the St. Croix River with the Stillwater Community.
Freels reached out to the City after learning the building’s conversion, originally not planned to be completed until 2030, would cost $1.3 million Freels hope the City will be able to complete the project much sooner than anticipated. City staff anticipates, pending other funding options, the building’s conversion could within the next five years.
During the council’s meeting, city planner Abbi Jo Wittman said that they weren’t even looking at converting the building until 10 years from now so the donation does greatly help push up the city’s timeline.
About the Park Plan:
In 2017, Stillwater acquired the property located at 1513 Main St. N. for parkland purposes after developing a concept plan was. A 15 acre property near the St. Croix River shoreline, was purchased with funding from the Stillwater, Washington County, and the State of Minnesota’s Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources.
The park will include multiple pedestrian access points to the river, an accessible fishing pier, an accessible kayak/canoe launch, patio and picnic areas, and multiple trails, including connection to the nearby Brown’s Creek State Trail.
The current building on the property will be remodeled to include a community room and restrooms open to the public.
It is the intent of the city to restore much of the property to natural conditions and provide passive recreational uses.