Renville County taking next steps to sell Anderson Lake Park along the Minnesota River


Renville County

is taking the first steps toward selling one of its county parks.

The county will have the boundaries of the five parcels comprising Anderson Lake Park along the Minnesota River south of Franklin surveyed in anticipation of offering them for sale to neighboring landowners.

That does not preclude the possibility of maintaining public access to the lands and Minnesota River as now provided by the park. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is among the neighboring landowners.

The state owns an approximately six-acre parcel adjoining the park. The DNR has expressed interest in the possible purchase of some or all of the park parcels.

Other neighboring landowners have expressed interest as well. At a public hearing March 28, landowner Kevin Kokesch was among those expressing interest. His family owns property adjoining the park, as well as lands located between the park parcels.

At the hearing, the

Renville County Board of Commissioners

also heard from a landowner asking for a survey to clarify uncertainties about the parcel boundaries and easements for access.

The commissioners also heard support for maintaining public access at the site. Lonnie Lund, a member of the River Valley Recreational Club, which owns land adjoining the park, voiced support for maintaining public access.

Lund told the commissioners that the park land was originally sold to the county at a lower-than-market price in the interest of seeing the land available for public use as a park.

Before a sale is offered, the County Board of Commissioners will place a minimum value on the lands. The lands are currently listed at $1,000 per acre. It is county practice to value its non-taxpaying park lands at that set rate.

A value more in line with sales of other recreational lands in the Minnesota River Valley is expected, according to Jesse Dien, parks and trails supervisor for the county.

The 86.85 acres comprising the park are flood prone. The Parks and Trails Committee recommended in August 2019 that the lands be sold and the funds applied toward other county parks. The matter was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic until it was brought up again this year.

After the March 28 hearing, the commissioners instructed Dien to bring the issue of the possible sale of the park lands back to the Parks and Trails Committee. It discussed the issue at length at its May 11 meeting. The committee recommended having the lands surveyed and offering the lands for sale to the neighboring landowners.

The County Board of Commissioners heard the recommendation at its May 16 meeting and informally agreed with the plans to survey the land. No action was taken at the meeting, said Dien.

The park supervisor said the park has been flooded this spring and the survey work will likely be conducted when waters drop.