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Paynesville Press - July 11, 2001

County looks to establish park
on the Chain of Lakes

The Stearns County Park Commission is looking for a location for a county park in the Chain of the Lakes area around Cold Spring and Richmond. A park in this area is part of the county's long-range comprehensive plan.

After the search, the park board will make a recommendation for a park site along the Chain to the Board of Commissioners for approval.

The county also is considering imposing development fees to help pay for parks and the preservation of open space. Currently, all county residents – including those in cities – pay for the parks. But county parks and trails cannot be located in a city, according to county policy. "Many cities are already paying… for their parks and trails," said Larry Haws, Stearns County Board of Supervisors Chair.

The development fees are designed to come from those people who develop land in the townships, places where county parks are located. "It creates some equalization for those who live near the park, assuming those who live closer to the park are more likely to use it," said Haws.

The park commission is also charged with making a proposed ordinance with a fee schedule for development fees. The fee could run up to $500, according to the county.

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