Commissioners approve Belle Prairie Park expansion

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

The Belle Prairie County Park will soon be expanding. Morrison County Public Works Director Steve Backowski received approval from the Morrison County Board of Commissioners Tuesday, to enter into a purchase agreement for approximately seven acres from Gerald Brockway.

The property adjoins the park’s northeast corner.

“Morrison County’s vision for the end state of this piece of property is to also have incorporated this piece of property as part of Belle Prairie County Park, as we seek to protect the integrity of the park and restore this piece of land to a natural condition,” Backowski said.

An application submitted to the Department of Natural Resources as part of the Legacy Amendment to acquire control and provide for reconstruction/reclamation of the property was not successful for 2014.

Backowski said that Brockway is a willing partner and wishes to see the property become a portion of the park as well.

“This was a point of discussion and consideration between Brockway and his wife on many occasions and that was their mutual wish,” he said.

During progress and update discussions with the Brockways, a discussion about land values and potential for gifting a portion of the land value was presented, and, during the discussion an offer by Brockway for $28,000 was proposed. The appraised value of the property $72,000.

“This was an extremely generous offer,” said Backowski.

The county agreed to purchase the property for $28,000, with $14,000 paid this year and the remaining $14,000 in 2015.