Last week included a variety of activities. Thursday I attended the Shamrock Township meeting, where we discussed the township’s recreational park that sits right next to the town hall. The park includes tennis courts, a ball field and other age appropriate recreational amenities.
There is interest in upgrading and expanding the park to better meet the needs of the community. Shamrock Township owns a portion of the property involved and has a lease on the adjoining 6.2 acres of State School Trust land that a portion of the park is situated on.
Past efforts to gain matching grant funds through Minnesota’s Parks and Trails Legacy Grant Program to upgrade the facilities have been complicated by the mixed ownership of the property. The school trust lands lease allows for the existing recreational facilities, as well as parking and septic facilities.
Under the lease additional recreational or facilities related construction would be possible with the concurrence of the DNR Division of Lands and Minerals acting as the agent for State School Trust Lands. The DNR Parks and Trails Grant Program requires that for matching funds, the grantee must have full ownership of all the property involved.
School Trust Lands are held in trust by the state for the benefit of and production of revenue to fund our K12 public education system. That requirement predates Minnesota’s statehood when the federal government first dedicated school trust lands to the Territory of Minnesota. Today the revenue produced from trust lands comes from mining, forestry operations and leasing arrangements, such as the lease Shamrock Township holds.
The task at hand is to figure out how we can upgrade and expand the current park to meet the community’s needs. That will require resolving what appears to be conflicting rules with respect to supporting both K12 public education and our local parks.
Friday found me at the Natural Resources Research Institute’s (NRRI) Coleraine facility with a bipartisan group of House and Senate legislators for an update on their research efforts. What an impressive facility, we met with world-class scientists, engineers and technicians that are working on cutting edge mineral and forestry related projects. NRRI works directly with natural resource based companies providing independent testing and research analysis on how best to turn Minnesota’s abundant natural resources into useful products.
This week will include a trip to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center to attend our youngest grandson’s graduation from Navy Recruit. Go, Navy!