Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Hope still exists for deal to secure Vermilion land

St. Paul – Nearly a year ago, the Legislature authorized $20
million in bonds to purchase a new state park along the shores of
Lake Vermilion. Proponents of the northern Minnesota facility
hailed the move, believing the state would be getting 2,500 acres
and the first major state park in 30 years, and saving the land
from being turned into a housing development.

But since last spring, little has happened and the state doesn’t
have a deal with the landowner – U.S. Steel – to purchase the land.
The company rejected the state’s most recent offer and last week
appeared intent on development.

“We were disappointed that negotiations with the state ended,
but we are committed to developing the Vermilion property,” Chuck
Rice, general manager of public affairs for U.S. Steel, told the
Minneapolis Star Tribune. Company officials didn’t return calls
from Outdoor News.

DNR Commissioner Mark Holsten, though, says he still wants to
get a deal done.

“I was very disappointed the last one didn’t get done,” he said
of the state’s most recent offer. Holsten declined to specify how
many offers the state has made. “We will try to put something
together again that might be able to put this together.”

U.S. Steel is a “very patient company” that has determined what
it believes is the value of the land and “they want to receive that
value,” Holsten said.

The two sides remain millions of dollars apart, but Holsten said
communication between the two is open. The bonding dollars the
Legislature authorized last year are good for another four
years.

While Holsten still believes the two sides can reach a deal, the
question of timing is paramount. Even as the state has expressed
interest in the land and made offers for it, the company has been
working on its plans for developing the property.

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