Xcel Energy isn't peddling river frontage
A discussion last week by the city's Park Board about acquiring a couple acres of property north of St. Croix Street in order to extend a riverfront pathway appears to have been premature.
Tuesday morning, an Xcel Energy spokeswoman called the Star-Observer to say that the power company isn't pursuing a sale of the property.
Chris Ouellette said a number of parties have expressed interest in the parcel, but the company isn't negotiating a sale of the land to any of them.
In a meeting of the Park Board a week earlier, chairman Donald Gilbert indicated that Xcel Energy was willing to part with the property. He said the company had told the Hudson Area Joint Library that it didn't want the property used for a new library because it didn't want the ground disturbed, but that it might transfer ownership for a passive use such as a pedestrian pathway and picnicking.
Gilbert said the property was being appraised.
The Park Board was interested in using the parcel to lengthen the riverfront pathway that runs north from Lakefront Park and ends at St. Croix Street.
Park Board member Patrick Casanova cautioned that the city should learn more about the Xcel property and whether it contains pollutants before acquiring it. He was worried that contaminants used in electrical transformers in the 1950s and '60s might be in the soil, and that the city would be taking on a liability by acquiring the property.
When told about the comments, Ouellette characterized the discussion at the Park Board meeting as "one-sided."
Park Board members in attendance at the meeting, besides Gilbert, were Randy Morrissette II, Jan Buege, Pat Casanova, Randy Lau, Tom Smith and District 3 Alderman Paul Radermacher. Mayor Jack Breault also was present.
The board debated whether to use all or some of the hockey rink boards recently donated by the Hudson Hockey Association in setting up a rink at Grandview Park.
Gilbert asked whether a full-size hockey rink is really needed at the park when it was suggested that there might not be room for both a hockey rink and figure skating.
The Parks Department is planning to create an ice rink this winter on top of a new section of parking lot scheduled for construction this summer. The lot expansion will provide parking for 60 more vehicles.
Eulberg said workers would cover the blacktop with white plastic before flooding the rink in order to deter the sun from thawing the ice.
Mayor Jack Breault recommended that someone contact the hockey association to find out if it has a need for a full-size outdoor rink at Grandview.
The association recently began construction of a second indoor ice arena. It reportedly has donated two sets of rink boards to the Parks Department, including the boards for the outdoor rink that stood where the new arena is going up.
The other set of boards will be used at Burton Park at the corner of Ninth and St. Croix streets.
In other business at its Aug. 2 meeting, the Park Board:
City employee Liz Moline said demand for Hudson's 49 moorings increased after White Bear Lake and another area marina stopped providing them. She said Hudson residents receive preference when openings occur, but people who already have a mooring are able to keep it indefinitely as long as they re-apply each winter. The fee is $375 a season, which runs from April 15 to Nov. 15.
"That doesn't seem right," Radermacher said of the indefinite use of moorings by those who already have them. He suggested that the board at its next meeting consider limiting the number of years a boat owner can rent a mooring.
Breault recommended increasing the rental fee.
Park Board chairman Gilbert said he didn't necessarily agree with setting a time limit on mooring rentals. "I have a problem with micro-managing because someone comes in with a complaint," he added.