A proposed land swap between the City and the Prichard Estate has remained tabled by the Storm Lake City Council since November.
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 12-foot wide public access on Shoreway Road.
Continued concern from neighborhood residents and an easement snafu on the access has delayed the potential trade.
After talking with a member of the Prichard family shortly prior to a recent special session, City Manager Jim Patrick said they were still interested in doing the land exchange, but were concerned about removing public access easement language.
"If they cannot take it off, they are not interested in the exchange," Patrick said. "What happens if council elects not to do the exchange? (Prichard) Family members will have to decide what to do with the property."
Councilman Bruce Englemann said he liked the idea of acquiring the property near College Street, but said he understands the value of the public access.
"If we could get the legal access cleared up, it would benefit my decision," he said.
Councilman Mike Porsch said he likes the public access the way it is.
"Whoever donated the access thought at that time (it was important) to maintain public access to the lake," he said.
Three long-time Shoreway Road residents expressed disapproval over the exchange, including John Hughes, who has lived in Storm Lake for 33 years.
"I love Storm Lake and its parks, but put me down as one of the people who use the public access," he explained.
Hughes suggested the City consider buying the adjacent lot next to the public access, and create a park.
"I am very interested in adding to the Storm Lake park land," he said. "A lot of people hate to see trees cut down and a house built there instead of an access, when there could be a park with picnic tables."
While Mayor Jon Kruse said he liked the idea of a park, he cautioned it was not "within the realm of reality."
"Overall, I'm opposed to getting rid of it (public access), but at the same time, if it comes down to making the choice, it's a good trade," he said.