Ramsey to purchase parkland from county for road construction

Contributing Writer

The Anoka County Board April 11 agreed to sell parkland on the north side of Mississippi West Regional Park to the city of Ramsey for construction of a road.

The board unanimously approved a joint powers agreement with the city and conveyance of the property to Ramsey for construction of Riverdale Drive Extension.

The money the county receives from the city for the property will be earmarked to help pay for improvements proposed in the regional park under a master plan amendment, which received the support of the board April 11 through approval of a resolution.

The amendment has to go to the Metropolitan Council for approval, at which point the county can apply for dollars for the projects detailed in the plan update, according to John VonDeLinde, county parks and community services division manager.

To extend Riverdale Drive between Ramsey Boulevard and Traprock Street on the north side of the park, the city has to purchase 5.31 acres of parkland, and an appraisal put the value of the land at $200,000, VonDeLinde said.

Under the joint powers agreement, the city will pay the county $200,000 and that money will be put back into the regional park to help finance construction of a small parking lot and entrance road, he said.

“And it will leverage $423,000 in state parks and trails legacy funding to complete the project,” VonDeLinde said.

The entrance road construction and parking lot are part of the master plan amendment.

According to VonDeLinde, the amendment changes the vehicle access to the park from Ramsey Boulevard to Traprock Street, which already provides access to the boat launch in the park, although part of it has a gravel surface.

“We will save money using an existing road,” VonDeLinde said.

The master plan amendment also plans three to five “primitive” canoe camping sites on Foster and Cloquet islands and add new trails, he said.

There was no opposition to the proposals during an extensive public engagement process, VonDeLinde said.

According to the master plan amendment prepared by Karen Blaska, park planner, the estimated cost of the improvements is $1.16 million with work to be completed in the next five to 10 years.

“This regional park is slowly taking shape over a period of time,” said Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who chairs the Parks and Community Services Committee, which recommended the actions to the County Board.

A user of the boat launch, Commissioner Matt Look said paving the existing gravel surface will be a “very nice upgrade” and he thanked staff for their “great work on this project.”