- Associated Press - Monday, June 22, 2015

MANKATO, Minn. (AP) - City and county leaders in the Mankato area are hoping to move forward on turning a depleted gravel pit southwest of Mankato into one of the region’s largest parks.

The Free Press (https://bit.ly/1K6Mxza ) reports that Mankato City Administrator Pat Hentges said Oldcastle Materials Inc., the corporate owners of the Guaranteed Gravel and Sand site, have indicated a willingness to sell the property. The issue will be discussed Monday night with the full City Council to gauge interest in starting negotiations with the landowners.

The newspaper reported last month that officials believe the proximity of the property to existing parks and trails could make it a strong contender for regional park development.

“I think we have a path forward to examine it and maybe put together a joint city/county application,” said Hentges, who participated in discussions last week between administrators and elected officials from the city and county. “We would designate it as a regional park. We would sit down with Guaranteed and discuss acquisition.”

State law designates a portion of the statewide sales tax for regional park development in outstate Minnesota. County Commissioner Drew Campbell, who is the area’s representative on a committee that decides which parks and trails in the southwestern quarter of Minnesota will be designated as regional resources, said last month that the proposed new park would be a strong contender.

The newspaper reports that Guaranteed Gravel and Sand site alone, which includes a 40-acre lake, would make it the county’s largest park. But the proposed project would be directly attached to Red Jacket Trail Park, whose trails connect to the broader region. All told, the combined park could total more than 235 acres.

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Information from: The Free Press, https://www.mankatofreepress.com

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