Met Council funds aid park projects

Washington County will receive Metropolitan Council funds to buy land for one park and help pay for three other green-space projects after the Board of Commissioners approved two separate agreements with the council Tuesday.

One agreement calls for the county to be reimbursed by the Met Council for buying the Knauff property in Scandia that will be added to the Big Marine Park Reserve.

The county paid $439,400 for the Knauff property May 15. The Met Council will reimburse the county up to $329,550.

As part of its reimbursement agreement with the Met Council, the county agrees not to sell, encumber or convey the property in any way without Met Council written approval, and will establish a permanent easement for future regional wastewater conveyance corridors on the property.

The second Met Council agreement provides funds for improvements to the Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Hardwood Creek Regional Trail and St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park.

The Lake Elmo Park Reserve will receive $324,000 in Met Council funds for continued improvement and expansion of existing parking and trail connections in the park and construction of new parking, access drives, trails, sidewalks, lighting, landscaping and storm water management features.

The Met Council will contribute $794,000 from the state’s parks and trails fund to a $1.4 million project on the Hardwood Creek Regional Trail. Work on the 10-mile, heavily used trail includes landscaping, benches, kiosks and signs. The project also received a $612,000 federal grant.

A $200,000 Met Council grant will be used to pay for installation of toilets at St. Croix Bluffs Regional Park, replacing portable restrooms currently used and a proposed shelter that park campers can use as a meeting place for programs and informal gatherings.

In a separate park-related action, commissioners approved a $434,793 contract with Arnt Construction Co., Inc., to construct a parking lot and trail connections at the Lake Elmo Park Reserve Nordic Center.

The project is paid for by a combination of state bonds and Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment grants from the Parks and Trails Fund.