Anoka County transfers park land to Coon Rapids

The first step in the process for Anoka County to transfer two parcels of land within the city of Coon Rapids’ Lions Coon Creek Park to the city has taken place.

The Coon Rapids City Council has approved a resolution approving the transfer and an associated grant agreement.

But it is not simply a land transfer between the county and the city. The National Park Service and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources are also involved, hence the grant agreement.

According to Tim Himmer, city public works director, the city has been leasing the parcels from the county since the park on Hanson Boulevard was built.

Those parcels comprise most of the park area and the county is now willing to transfer the land to the city at no cost, just as there has been no charge for the lease, Himmer said.

The lease term, which began in 1988, expires at the end of June, he said.

The Anoka County Board’s Parks and Recreation Committee has approved the land transfer in concept, but in order to move the process forward, the council had to take action, Himmer said.

Anoka County received federal Land and Water Conservation funds from the state to purchase and preserve the land for public park purposes, according to Himmer.

Now that the council has taken action to support the land transfer, Himmer outlined three more steps that have to occur before the transfer can be completed.

• The National Park Service must approve the land transfer.

• A grant agreement must be processed between the National Park Service and the state DNR allowing the state to transfer the grant responsibilities to the city.

• A three-way grant amendment must be executed by the city, county and the state.

With the resolution in hand from the city, the county will submit a letter to the state requesting the transfer, at which time the DNR can process the amendment between the National Park Service and the state to transfer the grant responsibilities to the city, according to Himmer.

Once the National Park Service signs off, the state will prepare a grant amendment for the county, city and state to sign, Himmer wrote in a report to the council.

“The city would not be limited it its ability to enhance and improve the property as long as it remains in the public domain for park purposes,” he wrote.

Lions Coon Creek Park, which totals 15 acres, has the city’s largest play structure and is known for its trails and access to the Sand Creek/Coon Creek Trail system.

The park features three picnic shelters available for rent, two softball fields, basketball courts, a bocce ball court, volleyball court and a memorial garden.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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