Read long-awaited Rock Island Park updates in City of St. Louis Park’s December 2022 Executive Summary.
Council Member Margaret Rog commented “After a years-long wait, MNDOT has finally, officially, offered to convey to the City two land parcels in Ward 1 they consider excess right-of-way, in the 2800 block of Toledo along Hwy. 100. Many residents refer to this area as Rock Island.
The south parcel is being offered free to the city on the condition it remain a public park. The north parcel is being offered to the city at market value without restrictions on its use. Council will discuss next steps in early 2023 with a May deadline to report back to MnDOT.
Here’s a link to the council packet that includes a staff report and map (page 78). I heard from many residents about your vision for these parcels and have them in mind as we discuss next steps.”
Here are Restore Lilac Way’s highlights of the Executive Summary below.
- MnDOT offered both of Rock Island’s land parcels to City
- City can only use south parcel as public park land (passive or active use, including simply open space)
- City can buy north parcel for fair market value, no usage restrictions (could be housing, public park, etc.), will evaluate
- Issue will go to council in early 2023, potentially in a closed session
- City must respond to MnDOT’s May 22, 2023 deadline
- Restore Lilac Way will continue to raise community awareness to keep BOTH parcels as open park land
Here is the City’s Executive Summary from Dec. 12, 2022.
You can also download the three Rock Island pages from the original document.
Meeting: Study session
Meeting date: December 12, 2022
Written report: 7
Title: MnDOT excess land update – Toledo Avenue and 28th Avenue – ward 1
Recommended action: None. This is a status report to city council.
Policy consideration: Does city council want staff to pursue acquisition of the land that Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has deemed to be excess right-of-way?
Summary: MnDOT officially offered to convey to the city two parcels of land they deem to be excess right-of-way along Highway 100 in the 2800 block of Toledo Avenue South. We received these offers in response to the letter of interest we sent to MnDOT in February 2022. We have until May 22, 2023, to accept the offers and purchase the parcel(s). The city council previously received staff reports regarding this matter on November 22, 2021, and February 7, 2022.
The south parcel is 0.88 acres and includes the remnants of a retaining wall and rock landscaping of a former wayside rest operated on the site (Conveyance 2021-0067 on the attached map). The north parcel is 0.81 acres (Conveyance 2021-0066 on the attached map).
In essence, MnDOT is offering to give the city the south parcel provided the city only uses it for public park purposes. MnDOT is offering to sell the north parcel to the city for fair market value and without restrictions on the use. There are other standard conveyance conditions that MnDOT attached to the offers.
City staff will undertake reasonable due diligence to review the information MnDOT provided, including a phase I environmental report. Staff will discuss using the south parcel as public park land (passive or active use, including simply open space), and will also evaluate the north parcel. Staff will bring this item to city council for discussion and direction in early 2023 and potentially in a closed session, with adequate time to discuss and take any formal action needed to respond to the offers before MnDOT’s deadline of May 22, 2023.
Financial or budget considerations: To be determined. The immediate cost includes staff time and legal fees related to the due diligence efforts, purchase price, and ongoing costs to maintain the parcel(s). This excludes any future use or improvements to the parcels.
Strategic priority consideration:
- St. Louis Park is committed to continue to lead in environmental stewardship. •
- St. Louis Park is committed to providing a broad range of housing and neighborhood oriented development.
Prepared by: Sean Walther, planning manager/deputy CD director
Reviewed by: Karen Barton, community development director
Approved by: Kim Keller, city manager