Board seeking input to name regional park

by Paul Rignell
Contributing writer

The Sherburne County Board is seeking public input on potential names for a regional park where the county has planned improvements, including riverbank clean-up, to make way for a canoe landing and maybe a boat landing.

At their Nov. 1 meeting, commissioners reviewed two names as proposed by the county’s Park Advisory Commission for what has been known as Mississippi West Park in Clear Lake Township.

 After considering the suggestions of Split Park (in reference to the park’s upper level and riverbank level) and Miehi Zeebee (which is a Native American name corresponding to the park, according to county staff), Commissioner Felix Schmiesing recommended the naming process be opened to include the Clearview and Talahi elementary schools near the park, in the St. Cloud Area School District. “Let’s get the community involved,” Schmiesing said. “When you get the kids involved, you’re also involving their parents.”

The board directed Planning and Zoning Administrator Nancy Riddle to contact the schools.

County Commissioner John Riebel added that all in the public should be invited to offer names. The main office line for Riddle’s department is 763-765-4450.

Other planned improvements for the park include 5,000 linear feet of walking trails and the addition of four picnic tables and grills. The county is awaiting word from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) on whether it will receive a DNR Legacy grant of $319,434 to finance most of the planned improvements at Mississippi West Park. If the grant is announced and then accepted by the county board, the county would owe a 10-percent match of $35,493 toward the project out of park dedication funds that are collected when developers acquire and build on county property.

The DNR Legacy program, which has $7.14 million to distribute this year among city, county and township applicants, was made possible in 2008 when state voters passed the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.