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Letter: County is taking property away from unwilling sellers

To the editor,

The Mississippi River Regional Trail runs through through the Spring Lake Reserve that is located in Hastings. We own 10.8 acres of property on Spring Lake in Hastings. For more than two years we were working in “good faith” with Dakota County, assisting them with the planning of putting the 10-foot paved bike trail through our property.  

Although we did not want this bike trail through our property, we were scared that if we did not agree to it that they would take our entire property. They told us throughout the entire process that they would never just take our property, and they only buy from willing sellers. They knew all along that we were definitely not willing sellers.  

All was going well, or so it seemed. Then, on Nov. 5, 2013, the Dakota County Commissioners decided to vote on taking our entire property of 10.8 acres and not just what they needed for the bike trail (only 1.8 acres). They voted on doing a quick take condemnation. They offered us a low amount of money for our property that lies on directly on Spring Lake. They are also doing this to two of our neighbors. We feel they are taking an excessive amount of unneeded property. They are purchasing a total of 126 acres from all unwilling property owners. This is all happening rather quickly.  

A court date will be held in February and if they succeed in their taking, the properties will be theirs by March 31, 2014.  We are desperately asking for the public’s assistance to either sign an online petition or to contact Dakota County Commissioners directly at 651-438-4418 to voice your opinion.

To take private property from unwilling sellers is not the American way. There is plenty of land for park use already. They don’t need 126 more acres just for a bike trail to go through.

We have all paid our property taxes on time for several years, and this should not be happening. We also have lived on this property since the 1950s, which was long before the Dakota County Parks ever had a park around this area.  The affected land owners are the Drews/Liljedahls/Mauchs, the Sorgs and the Gramseys.

Thank you for your time and any support you can provide us.

Here is a link to the petition: