Protest tables city land swap

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Concerns from Shoreway Drive residents have delayed a potential trade between the City of Storm Lake and the Prichard Estate, designed to expand Sunset Park.

The estate has expressed its desire to see its parcel on the east side of College Street, near the lake, added to the City's park system. In exchange for the approximately 130-foot wide lot, the City of Storm Lake would trade a public access on Shoreway Drive.

At some point, the Prichard parcel could be used to extend the lake pedestrian trail.

A Shoreway Drive resident, Steven Mills, who lives in front of the public access, voiced concern during Monday night's Storm Lake City Council meeting.

"I know council will make the best decision for the City, but we enjoy the public access," he said, referencing his four small children.

The next closest public lake accesses are located at Frank Starr and Circle Parks, Mills said. The 12-foot Shoreway Drive access, previously donated to the City, is primarily used for fishing, and sees "significant traffic" during the spring and summer months.

Two other neighborhood residents in disapproval of losing the public access have also contacted city officials.

Mayor Jon Kruse said he believed public usage would be far greater at an expanded Sunset Park, rather than an isolated lake access.

"For one, I'm not in favor of giving up lake access, but in this case, we would be trading 12 feet for 130 feet contiguous to parks," he said. "It would enhance (the park), especially if we add a trail."

Councilman Dan Anderson said, an avid lake trail cyclist, said he did not see the benefit of expanding the trail on the parcel in question.

"I had no idea that access was used a lot," he said. "I would share their sentiments that we should keep that access on that side of town."

Although the estate appears to be on a deadline for tax season, City Manager Jim Patrick and City Attorney Phil Havens said they did not believe the estate was ready to complete the trade, and noted there is a small possibility they might gift the College Street property to the City without requesting the Shoreway Drive Lake access.

The issue has been tabled until a special Council meeting on Dec. 6.

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