Chisago County Park Board members were elated to hear about a grant for costs to acquire a three mile stretch of the east-west Swedish Immigrant Trail. The parks board recommended to the County Board to take action accepting $73,500 from the Federal Highway Administration, in a program funneled through the state for promoting multiple modes of transportation. Laird Mork, County Parks Director, got notice on June 10 of the recommended funding. Paperwork needs to be submitted to the state by August, so the funding won't be available immediately.
The Swedish Immigrant Trail will be constructed coming out of Taylors Falls, to travel through Shafer and Center City, and connect to the trail now in Lindstrom-Chisago City.
Eventually there'll be a Chisago-Wyoming connection allowing the Swedish Immigrant route to flow into the north-south Sunrise Prairie Trail. There is also a proposal for the trail (out of Marine) along Hwy. 95 in Washington County, to have a future link to an unidentified trail segment in Chisago County-- which ultimately could connect to the Taylors Falls trail portion.
Mork continues to negotiate easements and/or purchase for Swedish Immigrant Trail property, he said. This new grant will be used for acquiring the part of the route closest to Taylors Falls along the Herberg Road area.
In other business the county park board heard from an LARA representative, Brad Doble. He wanted clarification on ballfield use in county parks. The director for the adult and elite leagues, Bob Gustafson, reportedly notified this youth sports organization that the adults needed a field at Ki-Chi-Saga Park. Doble said they "worked things out" and the kids went somewhere else to practice and play. He wondered about next ball season's field reservation system, so this wouldn't happen again.
The County Commissioners recently developed a county facility use policy which Gustafson skirted in scheduling his own leagues onto Ki-Chi-Saga. Park Board Chair Judith Erickson told Doble no field use should be happening except through the park department. Bob Frandsen, park board member, suggested the county schedule one night/day session next winter when all reservations be made, all coaches and organizers will be required to attend.
Nothing can be fixed for this year, Doble was advised, but 2010 field scheduling will be reviewed. He was told LARA should count on two fields at least at Ki-Chi-Saga.
The parks board members reminded him there's a public hearing the evening of Wednesday, July 15 in the County Board Room on the comprehensive plan for Ki-Chi-Saga Park, if LARA wishes to comment on field facilities.
Under new business the parks board will look into a group camping policy for county parks. Mork submitted a listing of other counties that have policies allowing for overnight uses of certain parks.
County Commissioner George McMahon, parks liaison, commented he'd be supportive of this as "...looking five years down the road, what do we want to be able to offer."
The group will consider needs like water wells, access, any conflicts with existing facilities and work on this over the next several months.
A complaint about a $3 fee to park at Fish Lake Park will be responded to. The fee helps pay for attendants at this staffed park. It also was an attempt to respond to requests for greater boating controls expressed by Fish Lake riparian property owners. It is only assessed per car load and if you walk or ride bike into Fish Lake there is no charge.
The next Park Board meeting includes a park tour, begins at 2:30 at the North Branch Parks Dept. meeting room for an extra hour timeframe.