Sartell approves purchase for Sauk River parkland

by Dennis Dalman –

The City of Sartell, at long last, has finally reached an agreement to purchase 44 acres of land that will likely become Sartell’s Sauk River Regional Park.

The city council approved the agreement unanimously at its Feb. 11 meeting.

The cost of the land parcel will be about $948,000. That amount includes $908,000 for 40 acres of what is known as the “Dehler Property,” and $40,000 for the nearly five acres of the “Ernie Wollak” property. The land is located in south Sartell along the Sauk River and south of Stearns County Road 120. It abuts Whitney Park in St. Cloud.

But it’s not quite the time to celebrate. First, the Minnesota Legislature must agree to extend $500,000 in bonding money for the park, a grant that expired at the end of December 2012. The bonding funds were granted to Sartell in 2008 but had to be used by the end of last year. Now that a purchase agreement has been reached, Sartell will request the legislature for an extension of the bond money.

In addition, the city will use $500,000, a Legacy Grant from the state, to help pay for the park. That grant requires a 10 percent amount to be kicked in by the city – about $90,000 to $100,000, said Sartell City Administrator Patti Gartland.

Gartland said the city’s portion of the park costs will come from park-land dedication fees that have accumulated, ones that were paid mainly by the Epic Center development (Walmart, Sam’s Club). Those funds also include $15,000 for eagle-habitat restoration paid by the developers of Epic Center. The Sauk River parkland contains an eagle habitat, Gartland noted.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Gartland said of the parkland purchase. The city had hoped for many years to create a regional park at that scenic wooded site, complete with trails and river recreational access.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Steve Feneis, who donated his services to help negotiate the purchase agreement,” Gartland said.

Feneis is a Sartell realtor and broker.

Dennis Dalman

Dennis Dalman

Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.
Dennis Dalman
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