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Picking and choosing

Anyone heard of the Nisswa Lake Park Steering Committee? Most probably have not. It consists of some 20 Nisswa area business owners and residents who had their first meeting in mid-June and are now meeting every month.

The group will be overlooking and advising the city council on a fully developed Nisswa Lake Park (that’s the park attached to the west end of the tunnel under

371). So far, close to $900,000 or so has been expended on purchasing the land and planning.

Each person on the committee was hand-picked by the city. What, no public announcement asking for interested citizens who might want to serve? It would

have been nice if the Nisswa council had advertised before setting up the steering committee so everyone would have had a chance to put their name in the proverbial hat.

Yes, they say you can have input by taking the survey on the city web page, but it’s not quite the same. To fully develop the park it is anticipated at least another $500,000 (some say much more) over and above the $900,000 already expended will be needed. That’s a lot of taxpayer money.

Of the total being spent, the Friends of the Park have only raised additionally $95,000 in private funds over 18 months. Yes, there were grants from the state to help with the cost and some private money was obtained, but grants come from taxpayers, too. I’m sure there are other ancillary costs like additional costs on 371 to plan for the tunnel and the pedestrian rest area on the east side.

Well, the point is, adequate public notice is important on large, very expensive projects like this. Letting politicos hand-pick the members - well, one can wonder why that method was chosen.