Crow Wing County commissioners approved a Dec. 13 public hearing for the Parks Legacy Grant application for the Mississippi River Northwoods Project.
The project sets aside undeveloped land along the Mississippi River near the Brainerd Lakes Airport for public use, recreation and hunting and fishing. The grant application is aimed at getting parks and trails dollars to offset Legacy Act funding for the proposed project as discussions include having the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail go through the property.
The board will meet as its Committee of the Whole next Tuesday to talk about the project. One of the questions is whether the proposed project will be managed by the county or the state. Previously the county board noted not developing the land was in the county’s interest as residential development near the airport and the county’s landfill could be a conflict in an area already heavy with public investment.
A question for the board may be whether public reaction favors setting the land aside or if there is a concern about losing potential tax revenue on the property.
On Tuesday, Board Chairman Paul Thiede said a way to offset possible public reaction is to develop part of the land closer to Highway 210 to offset those costs. Thiede drew up a rudimentary sketch of the property indicating where land could be developed into an urban spot either residential or commercial. How to develop that land by the airport and the county’s landfill could attract national interest and retain a tax base, Thiede said.
The county administers 103,000 acres of public land.
Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom noted with that amount of county-owned land, why would even an inch be carved out of the Mississippi River project to have someone live between the airport and the landfill.