Vermilion park pursuit ends

 

Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he has all but given up on his plan to turn undeveloped Lake Vermilion shoreline into a state park.

 

Pawlenty said Tuesday that news of a tentative housing development deal between St. Louis County and U.S. Steel, which owns land along the northern Minnesota lake, ends the state’s pursuit of the property.

“It’s an unfortunate development, but we’ve done all we can,” Pawlenty said.

The state and U.S. Steel could not reach agreement on a sale price for the land. Pawlenty, who proposed the park in 2007, said law prohibits the state from paying more than “fair value” for property.

Only the Legislature could change that policy, but Pawlenty said “it’s not responsible” to pay more than fair value.

“It’s disappointing,” Pawlenty said of the failed park plan.

Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia, a skeptic of the park proposal, said he had warned Pawlenty administration officials that it would be difficult to negotiate a purchase price with U.S. Steel.

 

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