Senate bill would allow Minn. to spend extra cash on Vermilion State Parkby Stephanie Hemphill, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Senate Environment and Natural Resources committee will take up a bill Monday that would allow the state to bypass its usual spending limits to buy land for the proposed Vermilion State Park.
Normally the state can only spend 12 percent more than the appraised price, but negotiations with landowner U.S. Steel couldn't bring the deal within that limit. The bill authorizes the DNR to spend up to $18 million for the land.
Sponsor Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, says he supports the plan, over some local opposition.
"If it's nothing more than a land grab, I object to it, but I'm of the belief that we're actually going to develop a state-of-the-art park there on that property," Bakk said.
The Legislature already authorized bonding for up to $20 million. Bakk said $2 million will be enough to plan the park's development.