Sept. 7, 2020. A recent interview by Neil Pursley at CCX Media sheds new light on the long-awaited land title transfer for Graeser Park. Watch the video above or read the transcript below. You can also read the CCX article.
Speaking with Robbinsdale City Manager Marcia Glick and MnDOT’s Historic Roadside Property Program Manager Andrea Weber, they’ve confirmed that most of the documentation to do a transfer to release MnDOT’s easement over the land is complete.
Andrea Weber said it best: “I think we share similar goals for it ultimately.”
This is incredibly welcome news to Graeser Park Beehivers and many volunteers and supporters. Graeser Park has been under the proud volunteer stewardship of the Robbinsdale Lions Club since 2008. Many hundreds of hours have been dedicated to preserving this park in hopes of eventual restoration.
We all thank Marcia Glick and Andrea Weber for providing this update.
We look forward to partnering with MnDOT and Robbinsdale to preserve this historic 1939 Lilac Way park and its rare beehive fireplace for restoration.
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “Graeser Park has a history in Robbinsdale dating back more than 80 years. It features one of only two 1939 WPA-built beehive fireplaces in the US. It is the only beehive in its original location. Currently MnDOT owns the right-of-way to the property but they don’t own the property. Because the right of way that they own supersedes any other uses for the property, they effectively have full control over it.”
Marcia Glick, City Manager: “Robbinsdale has been trying to get the title to the property, MnDOT clearly isn’t using that property for right of way, and we just need to acquire the fee title to the property underneath the easement. And when that happens then it’ll be turned over to the City for park. The City has indicated interest going back to the 1990s.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “So, why am I here? Well, the City of Robbinsdale and MnDOT may be getting closer to reaching an agreement.”
Andrea Weber, MnDOT: “MnDOT has attempted a couple of times to transfer the property to Robbinsdale, and both of those times it has just kind of gotten stuck.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “To get ownership of the property, there had to be extensive and expensive title work done.”
Marcia Glick, City Manager: “We had started work on the title work back around when Highway 100 finished construction and then the light rail project came along and the light rail project would’ve paid all of the costs of getting access to the fee title of the land.”
Andrea Weber, MnDOT: “We have most of the documentation complete to do a transfer to release our easement over the land, and so we will continue to work through that process.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “So, acquiring the title to the land is very close for Robbinsdale but in the short term interim…”
Marcia Glick, City Manager: “A couple years ago the option for a Community Highway Sponsorship program was created and it’s really Adopt-A-Highway type of programs. But in the case of in Robbinsdale, Graeser Park is also highway right of way, and so we are starting to meet with MnDOT looking at that as a possibility.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “At this point, does it look promising to turn the park over to the City of Robbinsdale?”
Andrea Weber, MnDOT: “Yeah, I think it does.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “It seems as if MnDOT, the City of Robbinsdale, and all the volunteers who helped care for the park all basically want the same thing.”
Marcia Glick, City Manager: “I think the volunteer groups over the years have done a really excellent job in Robbinsdale. We haven’t seen anything that has been done other than just clearing away debris.”
Andrea Weber, MnDOT: “We want the volunteers who are working on this site to understand that we are there to help and facilitate this and we want to try to help them to accomplish what they’d like to do with the park. I think we share similar goals for it ultimately.”
Neil Pursley, CCX News: “In Robbinsdale, Neil Pursley, CCX News.”