County transfering Lions Coon Creek Park land to city

The Anoka County Board has taken action to transfer ownership of two parcels at Lions Coon Creek Park to the city of Coon Rapids.

Lions Coon Creek Park on Hanson Boulevard is a city park, but two parcels which make up the bulk of the park acreage have been owned by Anoka County since 1988 when it received federal Land and Water Conservation funds from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to purchase and preserve the land for public park purposes.

The parcels total 18 acres and the county was awarded a $44,340 grant for their purchase.

The county has leased the property at no charge to the city, which developed the county parcels and adjacent property that it acquired into Lions Coon Creek Park.

The county took two actions following a public hearing at which no one appeared. The hearing was required because federal funds were involved in the original purchase.

The board amended the grant agreement with the state and the city of Coon Rapids removing the county from grant sponsorship and also approved the conveyance of the parcels to the city for use as a city park through a quit claim deed.

According to John VonDeLinde, county parks and recreation director, the original lease with the city in 1988 was for 25 years and late last year the county extended lease for another 25 years before it expired.

At the same time, the county’s Parks and Recreation Committee had decided it made sense to switch the ownership of the parcels to the city since  they were in a city-operated park, VonDeLinde said.

The lease extension was to allow enough time for the land transfer approvals to be given at the county, city, state and federal levels, he said.

Once the transfer is finished, it will be the city’s responsibility to follow the requirements of the federal grant, VonDeLinde said.

“The city is quite prepared to agree to the transfer,” said County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who chairs the Parks and Recreation Committee.

In fact, the Coon Rapids City Council approved a resolution last month giving its blessing to the land transfer and the grant agreement amendment.

According to Tim Himmer, city public works director, the city hopes to have the state and federal approvals for the land transfer by the end of the year.

Himmer outlined the remaining steps that have to be taken.

• 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.

Lions Coon Creek Park 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 [email protected]