10/17/2013 11:09:00 AM County looks to add to Miesville Park
by Ken Haggerty
The Dakota County Board of Commissioners gave authorization at its October 1 meeting for County officials to appraise and negotiate with Daniel and Kimberly Ellison to acquire approximately 49 acres of land and 47 acres of permanent agricultural conservation easement within and adjacent to the County's Miesville Ravine Park Reserve (MRPR) in Douglas Township south of Miesville.
According to the County report to the Board on the issue, the Ellisons own 121.8 acres of farmland, forest and grasslands, of which 40 acres are within the approved MRPR boundaries. Portions of the property are also adjacent to the existing Niesen Farmland and Natural Area (FNAP) agricultural easement. The Ellison family has sold property previously to the County for key portions of the MRPR and the Ellison family has met with County staff on various land protection options for their property.
As proposed, the County would acquire 49 acres in fee title. Most of this land is located within the current park reserve boundary, but also includes additional perimeter property that would provide greater natural resource protection and important upland access to existing park land along Trout Brook, according to the County report.
The family is also willing to consider selling a 47 acre easement on adjacent, cultivated portions of the property. This easement would further protect open space, provide County oversight on some agricultural practices and preclude the construction of new houses.
According to the County report, the estimated market value of the 49-acre portion is $255,000. The Met Council has no funds available for 2014 and 2015 for parkland acquisition, so the County Board may have to expend only County funds for the acquisition and then seek future reimbursement from the Met Council. Federal funds may be available for 50 percent of the easement portion.
The County currently owns just under 1,500 acres of land in the park.