Park Pointers Fight To Stop Sale Of Wooded Land

3 Acres Near 17th Street Off Minnesota Avenue

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Some Park Point residents are giving it their all to try to save wooded land St. Louis County wants to sell this October. The three acres of bayside property is just off Minnesota Avenue near 17th Street.

The land has been a haven for wildlife for decades.

But that same land is tax forfeited property the county says needs to go up for auction to start funneling tax dollars back to the county.

“This is one of the last public areas that remain between here and Southworth Marsh — a long way out to the point,” said Dave Johnson, who has been living on Park Point for more than 30 years.

Johnson has been voted by the Park Point Community Club as the spokesperson to save the land.

He says it should stay as is and become a designated city park – not for development.

“There’s that balance. And we understand that balance. But the people who want to develop everything have better understand that balance as well. “

Deputy County Administrator Gary Eckenberg disagrees.

“They just keep pushing and pushing and pushing and pushing the envelope,” said Eckenberg.

He says the only way to keep the land as is right now is for the residents on Park Point to find the money to purchase it for more than $700,000.

“St. Louis County doesn’t own it. Somebody else did and irresponsibly stopped paying taxes on it. So the responsible thing for the county to do is to get that land back on the tax rolls so we can all benefit by everybody paying your taxes,” Echenberg said.

Eckenberg says the money gained from the sale would go to the city of Duluth, St. Louis County and the Duluth School District, while opening up much-needed land for possible housing development.

“Park Point is a very desirable place to live. Just ask any of those folks who are living there right now. They love living on Park Point. Other people would also love living on Park Point,” Eckenberg said.

But Duluth City Councilor Sharla Gardner, who represents Park Point, believes not all land should be developed, especially on Park Point.

“It’s reaching the point very quickly of critical mass, so we need to make sure that we keep these little gems of nature available to the people who live there and to the rest of Duluth,” Gardner explained.

“Nobody is building bungalows anymore. Duluth needs this land as a park more than any significant housing could provide,” Johnson said.
 

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