The Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners has unanimously approved a purchase agreement for the Camp Kingswood property in Minnetrista. Under the agreement, which was approved Dec. 20, the Park District will pay $2.25 million for the 127-acre property. The next step is for the Minnesota United Methodist Church Board of Trustees to approve the purchase agreement.
“This property is a rare and unique gem in suburban Hennepin County, and I am delighted that Three Rivers Park District is able to acquire this land for public use,” said Larry Blackstad, chair of the Three Rivers Park District Board of Commissioners. “Natural resources of this quality are seldom still found in the metro area, and I am excited that Three Rivers will be able to manage the natural features and provide public access to this treasure.”
Natural features of the land include a tamarack bog, a 25-acre prairie and Little Long Lake—“one of the cleanest lakes in the county,” according to Paul Harcey, who had been Camp Kingswood’s most recent director until it closed this month. The groundwater-fed lake is habitat for trout as well as other fish species.
The purchase agreement includes a number of contingencies that must be satisfied in order to close on the property. Contingencies include required approvals by the City of Minnetrista, the Metropolitan Council for inclusion of the property into the Metropolitan Parks and Open Space System and the DNR for limited existing easement modifications. If all conditions are satisfied, the estimated closing could be in May 2013.
The Park District’s intended uses for the property will initially focus on basic stewardship and resources management. A preliminary identification of possible future outdoor recreation activities includes, as funding permits, a section of paved regional trail, non-paved park interpretive trails, a water resources learning center, and small campground to support service learning activities.
“We are pleased that the property will be owned by the Park District,” said Karen Andrew, vice-president of the Minnesota United Methodist Board of Trustees. “We have sought to balance the financial needs of the entire camping ministry, the rich history and tradition of the Kingswood ministry, and concern for the future stewardship of the land.”