Stillwater Looks Into Purchasing Palmer Property from Washington County

The city of Stillwater is looking into purchasing the former Palmer property from Washington County as an addition to the city’s park system.

The council on Tuesday night directed City Attorney Dave Magnuson to look into purchasing the 17-acre lot located at the southeast corner of Highway 96 and Manning Avenue from Washington County, if Stillwater Township officials decide to walk away from their agreement to buy it.

Washington County purchased the Palmer property earlier this year from Central Bank for $285,950.

According to the joint powers agreement between Washington County and Stillwater Township, the county will retain a strip of land along Manning Avenue for additional right-of-way for future highway work and trail improvements. The rest of the land would be purchased and maintained by Stillwater Township for open space purposes.

Washington County paid $85,950 for the right of way and $200,000 for the open space.

According to the agreement, the county will cover an additional $84,000 of the $200,000 purchase price for the open space, leaving the remaining $116,000 as Stillwater Township’s responsibility.

Stillwater Township does not intend to purchase the property from the county on their own.

During a city council workshop in February, Stillwater Township officials asked the city council to consider purchasing 6/7ths of the property, with the township picking up 1/7th of the cost.

At that time, City Council Member Tom Weidner suggested that the city may want to consider purchasing the property on its own for use as a city park.

But the city of Stillwater cannot move forward with the intent to purchase the property from the county until the township is no longer in a contract to purchase it.

The township may consider rescinding their contract with the county if the city expresses interest in purchasing the property alone for $116,000, Weidner said.

“If the township moves away from the agreement with the county, I would like to see us step in to those shoes and purchase this piece of property as park land,” Weidner said.

The council agreed.

“Mike (Polehna) and I have been working on this for quite some time,” Mayor Ken Harycki said. “I think would be a great addition as park property.” 

There is a shortage of lacrosse fields, and this is an excellent location for getting onto the Browns Creek Trail, and the county’s regional trail system, Polehna said. “I think it would be a wonderful addition to the city park system.”

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