Riverfront property presents preservation possibility
BAXTER - A unique wooded property linked to two lakes and the Mississippi River is giving the city of Baxter a chance to conserve the land. This week, the Baxter City Council learned Larry Helsene was interested in selling about 80 acres in south...
BAXTER - A unique wooded property linked to two lakes and the Mississippi River is giving the city of Baxter a chance to conserve the land.
This week, the Baxter City Council learned Larry Helsene was interested in selling about 80 acres in southwest Baxter and wanted to give the city the first chance.
Josh Doty, community development director, said the land represents a unique area of the city. The property, on Timber Ridge Drive, is across the Mississippi River from Crow Wing State Park. The land stands out for its river frontage, as well as lake front on Bass Lake and an unnamed lake.
"It's a fantastic piece of property," said Acting Mayor Todd Holman.
From a natural resources perspective, Doty said it was a high quality area of the city. He noted the 100-foot bluff and vistas of the river frontage, noting someone could be there and not even realize they were in the city of Baxter. It is a possible conservation site. The Baxter Parks and Trails Commission identified conserving Mississippi River frontage as a goal and this property represents some of the same overall goals of preserving that scenic landscape, Doty said.
Doty brought the matter before the council in a workshop session to see if the council had any interest in pursuing a possible purchase.
Holman noted the property may also represent a transportation link and not only as a park zone. The area is not on the city's long-range transportation plan now. Holman asked if city staff might want to take more time looking at the land's potential.
"For myself, I'd like to go out and take a hike so to speak," said council member Steve Barrows.
Council member Quinn Nystrom said she'd like more information. Nystrom said she would like to get more direction from staff on whether a purchase would be a good return on investment and where it fits in the city's priorities. There was also the question on funding options to help in a purchase price to conserve the land.
Holman said there was consensus to continue exploring the option and to look at costs and funding.
There is enough interest, Holman said, to keep looking.
RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 855-5852 or email@example.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Dispatchbizbuzz .