Falk Announces 172-Acre Purchase in N. Mendota
October 05, 2007
Park purchase is the largest ever by the County
Laura Guyer, Dane County Land and Water Resources/Land Acquisition, (608) 224-3765
Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk today announced the purchase of approximately 172 acres, the largest park purchase ever, in the North Mendota Natural Resource Area, calling it one of the most picturesque and most accessible of all the new county parks.
“What I love most about this property is its central accessibility to our half of a million citizens, yet once you’re in the middle of it you think you’re in a wilderness area,” Falk said of the land located in the Town of Westport.
Rolling terrain of woodlands, pasture and wetlands, with some steeper slopes offering postcard panoramic views of surrounding landscape -- including the State Capitol – mark the property. Large, ancient open-grown oaks still are prominent on the slopes adjacent to Six-Mile Creek that runs through the property. The open-grown nature of the oaks presents a clear vision of the once-common savannas in this part of the state.
The property also provides a link for the proposed North Mendota Bicycle Trail, a regional trail similar to the Capital City Trail on the southern half of the county that will link Schumacher Farm County Park, Governor Nelson State Park and Pheasant Branch Conservancy.
Falk also noted more than 1.5 miles of Six-Mile Creek runs through the property, flowing south to Lake Mendota. “This creek has numerous pools and riffles, clean bottom substrates, and clear water clarity, which all characterize a healthy creek worthy of protection,” she said.
In addition to purchasing the property for use as a natural resource area, which will offer recreation activities that complement and enhance the natural beauty and habitat of the property, Dane County intends to use the existing buildings to fulfill storage needs.
The buildings include a former horse stable and arena to be converted for use by the Dane County Sheriff, a metal outbuilding to be used for aquatic plan harvesters, and a barn and three-sided shelter to be used for park equipment storage.
"The buildings are in great shape and we realized they are an excellent opportunity to meet storage needs of several County departments, most importantly those of the Dane County Sheriff,” Falk said, adding space is available for other interested parties.
Dane County will purchase the property for approximately $5.5 million, or $32,000 per acre. The purchase price is well below the appraised value of the land, which ranged from $6.8 million to $10.3 million. Dane County will seek out partnerships to offset some of the costs associated with the transaction.
"Purchasing the land is a limited-time opportunity and we did not want to lose the opportunity while we pursued partners,” Falk said. “While money is one part of the discussion, we’re also looking forward to addressing issues such as master planning, management, maintenance and public use with interested parties and the neighbors.”
The resolution to make this purchase was introduced at the October 4 meeting of the Dane County Board of Supervisors. Final approval by the County Board and County Executive should occur within a month.
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