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Parker

New State Park?

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I just read Gov. Pawlenty approved a new 2500 acre state park on Vermilion near Soudan. The land is currently owned by US Steel. Anyone have any inside knowledge of where this will be? Is this the same land where the proposed 3-Bays project was going to take place, or is that still on?

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Article

Here is a link from the Duluth News Tribune on that subject.

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Too bad I'll have to boat 30 miles across the lake to get there!

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It can also be found on the DNR website. Look under newsroom or news releases.

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I think this is great news and I'm all for it. The less development on the Lake in the future is, IMHO, the best for the Lake. The "Three Bays Project" is just to big and will take such a large track of undeveloped area at on fell swoop and make it into a city for the rich as those are the only people that could afford to build there.

So, good luck to the state on turning the area into a State park.

StillFishin'

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Sounds like a good idea but.....don't they keep cutting back and closing other parks?? Grand Mound Interpetitive Center on the way to Baudette is an example. That was closed during the budget crisis a number of years ago and it still is closed. Some how it doesn't quite make sense. The state has no money to match Federal road inprovement dollars so we lose out on that front and the Gov will not allow any new fees/ taxes or whatever you want to call them, but 50 million plus for a new park, no problem. ?? @@ ** I guess I just don't understand.

I am not aligned with any political party so normally stay out of this stuff but..... Don't get me wrong, I think a new park on Vermilion would be a great use of that land but it just doesn't add up....yet anyway.

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Pawlenty may be foresighted enough to be looking to the future. Understanding that once it's sold it will be gone forever. I think it's a great investment in the future of keeping more state land out of the hands of developers.

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I am no big fan of our gov, but I think he has a good idea here. He has visited the Big V since the "Govenor's Opener" a couple years ago and has been quoted in the newspapers about his appreciation for the lake (he was here over the 4th). With fewer families able to afford a place on the lake, a state park would be a good way to insure access into the future for many more Minnesotans. This would be the first state park added to Minnesota in 30 years, what better investment for our kids'kids future?.

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I think it is a great idea. Sounds like Moc. Pt Campground is being sold off so it will be nice to have something to replace it.

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Over all I like the idea. I think the state park would be a better use of the land than US Steel and a bunch of Condos.

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From the Duluth News Tribune.

ON CABLE BAY, LAKE VERMILION — Eagles perched in white pines, a loon carried its chick on its back and a great blue heron was fishing here Friday — the perfect backdrop for state officials trying to showcase what they hope will be Min-nesota’s next state park.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources held a boat tour of the 2,500-acre parcel of waterfront land that Gov. Tim Pawlenty wants to buy from the U.S. Steel Corp.

The site includes some of the largest tracts of accessible but undeveloped land along the popular, island-studded lake. But it also includes 1,400 acres that U.S. Steel was about to turn into a 150-unit, high-buck housing complex.

DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten told reporters on the tour Friday that the state has less than a year to decide the future of the pine-studded waterfront. If the state doesn’t approve the plan and come up with the money, U.S. Steel will move ahead with development plans.

“One year from now this is either going to be in hands of the state and open to the people, or it’s going to become a housing devel-opment. That’s the choice we have,’’ Holsten said.

“I think this is a great idea. It would be a good thing for the area,’’ said Tower mayor Steve Abrahamson, who attended Friday’s tour. “This would be a place for everyone to use.’’

Holsten, who owns a lot on the other end of the huge lake and has vacationed here often, said few of Minnesota’s 72 state parks and recreation areas are based on a large northern lake.

“I grew up on this lake in the ’60s as a kid … I live on this lake now. And I can tell you, it’s changed a lot. It’s still changing,’’ said state Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook.

Bakk and others lamented the loss of modest cabins and mom-and-pop resorts that have been replaced in recent years on the lake by multiple $1 million homes. There are about 7,000 cabins on the 40,000-acre lake where undeveloped waterfront is selling for as much as $2,000 per foot.

“It’s getting harder to come to shore and not have someone say ‘get off my property’,’’ Abrahamson said.

While Bakk is reluctant to increase public land ownership in the area, he supports the park plan because it will help protect the lake and the lake experience.

“The day is coming when regular, working-class people won’t be able to use this lake,’’ Bakk noted.

But Bakk said charting a Lake Vermilion state park has many obstacles, not the least of which is the price tag. While the land is now appraised at just more than $13 million, appraisers say the value of lots in the U.S. Steel 3 Bays development plan would easily exceed $40 million.

The DNR’s plan, pushed by the governor, is to turn the waterfront into a multi-use state park that includes walk-in, drive-in and boat-in campgrounds with hiking trails, an interpretive center, snowmobile trials, swimming and even a ma-rina.

Negotiations between the state and U.S. Steel have not begun in earnest. But in announcing the plan Wednesday, Pawlenty said he would expect to pay “tens of millions’’ for the land. The state could take the money from general fund accounts or sell bonds for the purchase.

“This will face a huge challenge at the Legislature. It’s not a slam-dunk,’’ Bakk said.

Bakk said his support, and probable support of other northern lawmakers and local officials, hinges on building a multi-use park that allows motorized use and hunting where they currently occur on the land.

That support also hinges on full funding for construction of park amenities so the land isn’t preserved but then left unusable for years because of state funding shortfalls.

Bakk said local officials might ask the state to sell other state land in the region, such as on Pelican or Burntside Lakes, that would be made available for development to help offset the loss of tax base from not having another 150 expensive homes and cabins on Vermilion.

Courtland Nelson, director of the DNR’s division of Parks and Recreation, said a state park of the nature planned for Vermilion probably would be self-sustaining financially and would spur an annual economic benefit approaching $9 million for the area.

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There is one VERY important key factor here that I can't believe that no one has brought up yet. Taxes. That land on Lake Vermillion given to the state can never be taxed now and it is just another burden for the taxpayers to carry on their shoulders. The mining companies pay very little in property tax and most of them are delinquent every year. Why should big companies like that be allowed to not pay taxes on huge tracts of land covering vast amounts of northern Minnesota while resort owners and small family cabins on modest lakeshore proprty be taxed to death? It's just not right. Take a look at a plat book for St. Louis or Itasca county and also take a look at last year's delinquent tax records. The results will astonish you. Minnesota has enough state land! These giant ore properties in northern MN which have no active mining, depleted mining, or no future of mining pay pennies on the dollar in taxes for huge tracts of land compared to what you and I would pay and yet they are delinquent almost every year! And now US Steel washes it's hands of taxable property and gives it to the state for a state park which my taxes will now be subsidizing- am I the only one who sees this? It is no wonder our schools can't sustain themselves, our roads are death traps, and resorts can't pay property taxes! Our 21st century minerals fund is gone-money that was supposed to get projects like Mesabi Nugget, Minnesota Iron and Steel, and Polymet projects going!!! Schools are closing, there are no good paying jobs here anymore-pretty soon there isn't going to be anyone up here making a living!!! This kind of stuff really irks me mad.gif

Justin

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Schools are closing, there are no good paying jobs here anymore-pretty soon there isn't going to be anyone up here making a living!!! This kind of stuff really irks me
mad.gif

Justin


While I understand your frustration...this is hardly anything new. Do you have any idea how many people would love to live up there if they could?

I would like to move back there, but I made a conscious decision that if I wanted a decent paying job, one that wouldn't cause me to have cancer and die prematurely. I needed to get out. I'm glad I did, yet sorry that I had to do it.

Sorry off topic, but I don't think not making a state park is going to change a thing.

Sure wish some major business owners would come together and expand up there smirk.gif

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Schools are closing, there are no good paying jobs here anymore-pretty soon there isn't going to be anyone up here making a living!!! This kind of stuff really irks me


Finding a good job any where north of the Twin Cities is more than just a little difficult, the state creating a park up here will at least bring a few jobs to the area. The area from Grand Rapids to Ely has pretty much relied on the mining industry for work and now with the mining industry in the doldrums decent work is not a happening thing. The area has not been very friendly to businesses wanting to locate up here, the unions are strong and don't want any non-union businesses coming in and setting up shop. Some people are even trying to kill the excell energy deal on the western end of the Range, not a good way to bring jobs to the area. Many times the people of the area are their own worst enemies when it comes to businesses locating there.

Back to the real topic I would rather the state build a park than have 150 condos and townhomes built on that end of the lake. Let's leave some parts at least somewhat un-developed at least for a while.

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If the mining companies really aren't paying their taxes, then it makes no difference if ownership transfers to the state. There's no change. If it's sold to a developer and parceled out, I can guarantee that St. Louis county wouldn't lower any of our tax burdens.

I at least agree with the notion that in 50-100 years, a state park will be the only place that most of us will be able to afford if we want to go spend some time on a lake. Sad commentary for our over-populated future. I'm just glad that people had the foresight to set aside other park lands back in the day for us.

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if it's sold to a developer and parceled out, I can guarantee that St. Louis county wouldn't lower any of our tax burdens.


BINGO

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I could be wrong, but I believe that Dayton's have a huge chunk of land set aside with an agreement to never develop. It's just west of Niles bay near where their place is.

Not saying anyone (public) will ever get to use it, but I don't think it will be developed either.

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One issue that hasn't been brought up is the possibility of exposing Vermilion to unwanted plants (milfoil...ect) and/or aquatic animals. If a new state park had 400,000 visitors a year, how many of those would launch a boat into the lake? How much would that increase the chances of Vermilion becoming exposed to these unwanted plants and animals? I think the chances would increase significantly. I would hate to see that happen to such a great lake.

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Although it is true that a state park will not provide any real estate tax revenue, It will be more than made up for in the amount of money tourists like me will bring in from other states for food, gas and entertainment. Every job created will provide income tax revenue.

More homes with full time residents would require more services like police, fire and schools that the real estate taxes would be needed to pay for. Financially, the state park will probably net more income for the state than homes would.

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I think the state provides "in liu of taxes" payments for the park land.

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Usually jobs that are centered around tourism are lower paying seasonal jobs. We need mining industry to be revitalized up here! People working in construction and other spin off jobs that mining creates need this to happen soon. There are alot of people with families who need good paying jobs and working at a resort or gas station just doesn't cut it. If young people with families leave the area for work, there are not enough students in school to keep the doors open! This is a reality we are facing right now. Schools are the focal point of a community and kids deserve the best education!!! It's not going to happen with deciling enrollment and academics being cut every year.

Keep this in mind also- that property on lake vermilion is estimated to have a value of $40 million. If this land was sold and developed, your personal property tax may not go down, but there will be more tax revenues collected that go to help schools and roads, etc. in St. Louis county. Having this land given to the state and turned into a state park means less property taxes collected in St. Louis county, and guess what? Your taxes will go up.

Remember when Iron World and Giant's Ridge were such great ideas to attract tourism dollars? Check their financial statements! A new state park is just going to be another burden put on the shoulders of the taxpayer just like Iron World or Giant's Ridge and alot of other state parks.

We need some common sense leadership in St. Paul- my word, are their priorities messed up!

Justin

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Usually jobs that are centered around tourism are lower paying seasonal jobs. We need mining industry to be revitalized up here! ...


If mining is going to pick up in the area it isn't going to be in the area of the proposed state park. It will be near Babbitt and south of Ely. That will bring more people into the area.

As there gets to be more and more of the recreating public there will be a higher demand placed on public land. Having more to set aside for the increasing population is a good idea so use doesn't end up being so concentrated.

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We need mining industry to be revitalized up here!


While mining has been the Range's cash cow. It's really time to start (and I hate this saying) thinking outside the box.

Instead of investing the hundreds of millions to revitalize mining. Use that money for infrastructure to get a decent information pipeline. If the infrastructure isn't there, you will never get "good paying jobs" to expand or relocate.

And while miners may have a decent salary, is that a trade off for mesothelioma?

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Usually jobs that are centered around tourism are lower paying seasonal jobs. We need mining industry to be revitalized up here! People working in construction and other spin off jobs that mining creates need this to happen soon. There are alot of people with families who need good paying jobs and working at a resort or gas station just doesn't cut it. If young people with families leave the area for work, there are not enough students in school to keep the doors open! This is a reality we are facing right now. Schools are the focal point of a community and kids deserve the best education!!! It's not going to happen with deciling enrollment and academics being cut every year.


Mining will never be what is was in the area, period. Even if and when the open new mines open they will be higher tech and not manned the same way they were in the past. The area needs to be open to other business ventures. If you put all your eggs in one basket and that basket breaks you ain't gonna have any eggs.

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Ely area mining article

Somewhat off topic, but it kinda goes to what Justin is looking to see come to the area. There is also some talk of the opposition that they expect. Would be nice to see the proponents being as vocal as the oppenents of the projects. There is company talked about that I hadn't heard of in this article(musta missed something at one time or another).

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