BY PRESIDENT EDWARDS AND COUNCILOR STENBERG:01-0682R
RESOLUTION AUTHORIZING 25 YEAR LEASE TO THE DNR OF PROPERTY ADJACENT TO CONGDON BOULEVARD FOR THE MCQUADE ROAD SAFE HARBOR PROJECT.
RESOLVED, that the proper city officials are hereby authorized to enter
into a 25 year lease, a copy of which is on file in the office of the city
clerk as Public Document No. _________, with the state of Minnesota department
of natural resources leasing to the state, for nominal consideration, property
on Lake Superior at the intersection of McQuade Road and Condgon Boulevard
for the McQuade Road safe harbor project.
The project has been under consideration and development for nearly 12 years and has been a cooperative effort involving not only the state DNR but also St. Louis County, and the townships of Duluth and Lakewood. In addition the U.S. Army corps of engineers and the Lake Superior Trollers Association have been deeply involved. The project, as shown on the attached drawings, will consist of boat launch and recovery facilities, parking facilities for approximately 93 vehicles with trailers and 37 single spaces for visitors and handicapped, temporary dockage for boats entering and leaving the facility, restrooms, a picnic area, walking paths and other similar amenities. No facilities will be provided for camping or marina usage and those uses are to be prohibited. Congdon Boulevard, which otherwise runs through the project area, will be slightly modified to go around the south and west perimeters of the water-side facilities and the flow of traffic through the area should be basically unaffected.
The DNR and the members of the joint powers board, created by agreement with the county and the townships to further development of the project, both in their capacity as board members and as representatives of their own communities, have met extensively with persons owning property in the area or affected by the project and the project has their general, if not total, support.
Since 1996, the city had been part of the joint powers board. In addition, the city council had on several occasions voiced its support of the project by various resolutions. However, in July of 2000, the city council determined that the city did not want to proceed with the project.
Then, on June 29, 2001, during its first special session, the Minnesota state legislature approved Chapter 2 of the 2001 first special session which included Section 158; this section declared the public necessity of acquiring the property necessary for the McQuade safe harbor project, including the city's property and mandated that the commissioner of the DNR proceed to do so under Minnesota Statutes Section 86A.21 (a)(2) which includes the power of eminent domain.
The DNR, as the lead agency in constructing and operating the project, has indicated its intention to comply with the legislature's directive but, before entering into an adversarial procedure, have requested that the city reconsider the benefits to the city of leasing the property to the DNR as originally proposed and of participating in the process of designing the improvements to be made as part of the project. Under the lease the state assumes all responsibility for the construction and maintenance of the project. They further agree to assume all liability arising out of the acts or omissions of its agents and employees and that the city's liability would be limited to that of a property owner who allows its property to be used for public recreational purposes.