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Info meeting planned April 5 in Granite Falls, Minnesota, on Upper Sioux park land transfer

A number of tribal, state and local officials will answer questions April 5 at an informational meeting about the proposed transfer of state park land to the Upper Sioux Community near Granite Falls.

A summer sun sets over the Minnesota River just upstream of the confluence with the Yellow Medicine River in the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Bills recently introduced in the state Legislature call for transferring the park lands to the Upper Sioux Community.
A summer sun sets over the Minnesota River just upstream of the confluence with the Yellow Medicine River in the Upper Sioux Agency State Park. Bills recently introduced in the state Legislature call for transferring the park lands to the Upper Sioux Community.
West Central Tribune file photo

GRANITE FALLS β€” An informational meeting about the possible transfer of state park land to the Upper Sioux Community is planned for April 5 at the Minnesota West Community and Technical College in Granite Falls.

The meeting will be at 7 p.m. in the student center at the college and is open to the public. Those attending are asked to use the door to the student center on 11th Avenue.

Minnesota Sen. Gary Dahms, R-Redwood Falls, and Rep. Chris Swedzinski, R-Ghent, will host and moderate the discussion.

The purpose of the meeting is to answer questions people have about the proposed transfer of Upper Sioux Agency State Park land to the Upper Sioux Community . The transfer would close the park.

The Department of Natural Resources would develop a new state park in the area.

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Two bills to authorize the land transfer have been heard by committees at the Minnesota Legislature this session.

The estimated cost of closing the park and purchasing land for a new park is estimated at about $6 million. Cost estimates for developing buildings, roads and trails for a new park have not been released.

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The panel available to answer questions will include:

  • Scott Roemhildt, Region 4 director, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; 
  • Ben Leonard, senior director for historic sites and facilities operations, Minnesota Historical Society;
  • David Kelliher, director of government relations, Minnesota Historical Society;
  • Kevin Jensvold, tribal chairman, Upper Sioux Community;
  • Dave Smiglewski, mayor, Granite Falls;
  • John Berends, commissioner, Yellow Medicine County. 
In 42 years in the newspaper industry, Linda Vanderwerf has worked at several daily newspapers in Minnesota, including the Mesabi Daily News, now called the Mesabi Tribune in Virginia. Previously, she worked for the Las Cruces Sun-News in New Mexico and the Rapid City Journal in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She has been a reporter at the West Central Tribune for nearly 27 years.

Vanderwerf can be reached at email: lvanderwerf@wctrib.com or phone 320-214-4340
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