Hopes for Vermilion State Park Dimming

Time and money seem to be working against efforts to establish a new state park along the shores of Lake Vermilion.

As the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports, HERE, negotiations between the State of Minnesota and the U.S. Steel Corporation have been on hold since the two parties differed on the value of the land parcel that the company would either sell to the state for a park or develop for private housing.  Now, the State has decided to “stand down,” according to the paper, until after the agency completes its environmental review of U.S. Steel’s proposed Keetac mine expansion near Keewatin, Minnesota.

The delay, which is prompted by concerns over the appearance of a conflict of interest, could last until the spring of 2010, deep into next year’s legislative session, when the legislature may find itself focused on more pressing issue and, perhaps, eager to put the $20 million set aside for the park toward other projects.

The story does note that in similar situations previously, advocacy groups have purchased park lands with the intention of being reimbursed by the state for it at a later date.

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