County changes mind on buying park landAfter a generous offer by a local resident and landowner, Douglas County commissioners changed their minds about applying for a Regional Park Legacy Grant.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
After a generous offer by a local resident and landowner, Douglas County commissioners changed their minds about applying for a Regional Park Legacy Grant.
The five-member board met Monday morning in a special meeting to discuss the new information and to revote on applying for the grant, which would be used for acquisition of land that would be added to Lake Brophy County Park.
Because there is more than one parcel of land to be purchased, there are at least three phases to the land acquisition project.
The first phase includes about 26 acres of land located north of Lake Brophy and north of the Lake Brophy Park.
Douglas County Parks Superintendent Al Lieffort told commissioners he felt that it was worthwhile to bring the issue back to the board and asked them to take a second look at letting him apply for the grant.
At last week’s board meeting, the board voted 4-1 to turn down a request from Lieffort to apply for funds from the Regional Park Legacy Grant.
Lieffort explained to the commissioners that Wayne Lee, who owns some of the land the county is looking at acquiring for Lake Brophy County Park, contacted him after last week’s board meeting and asked Lieffort, “What if I put up the local share? Would that change things?”
The overall cost for the first phase of land acquisition would be approximately $500,000. The Legacy Grant money would provide 75 percent, or $375,000 of the total cost. The county’s share – or local share – would be $125,000.
Lieffort explained that Lee was willing to provide the $125,000 so that it wouldn’t have to be funded by the county.
Lee told Lieffort, “I want this [his portion of the land] to become a park. You proceed in the way you have to.”
After a brief discussion, board chair Paul Anderson reminded commissioners, “We are here today to authorize the grant. We don’t have to get into the details. If we don’t take advantage of this now, there will be another county that will.”
Commissioner Bev Bales, who was the only one to vote in favor of the grant at last week’s meeting, said, “I will make my motion again to let Al [Lieffort] apply for the grant.”
Commissioner Dan Olson seconded the motion.
After another brief discussion, where Lieffort explained to the commissioners, “We will have lots of choices after we apply for the grant,” a vote was taken and all five commissioners voted in favor of applying for the Legacy Grant.
Lieffort thanked the board members and told them, “Now we can move forward.”
The commissioners also thanked Lee, who was in attendance at the meeting, for his generous offer.