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Land swap deal bogs down

October 30, 2012
Jodelle Greiner - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

BLUE EARTH - Good fences may make good neighbors, but a fence is at the heart of a dispute involving a land swap between the city of Blue Earth and Faribault County.

The city would like to take possession of the Green Giant park, which is owned by the county. Six months ago, the city offered land it owns near the grandstand at the fairgrounds in exchange.

The main issue that has arisen is whether the fair board could build a ball diamond near the grandstand. Baseball enthusiasts say another ball diamond is desperately needed in town, and that it could work at the grandstand area. Others have no objection to the diamond, but don't want a ball field fence that would deter other fairground activities.

The land near the grandstand is a liability for the city, but an asset to the fair board, noted Councilman Russ Erichsrud. He believes a ball diamond would work, but doesn't want it fenced.

"All they need is a place to play," Erichsrud said. "There are things we can do for our city that are so positive. We'd get a diamond; we'd get everything we need."

Councilman Glenn Gaylord disagreed.

"I don't believe if we give them the land, we'll get a diamond," he said. "We're losing control."

"What we're gonna make in the swap, we're not losing control," Erichsrud countered.

Daryl Murray, fair board member, said the land in question could have multiple uses.

"A dream is: We need more room in front of the grandstand, to move the grandstand," Murray said.

He added that putting up a fence for the ball field would not work.

Brent Legred's teenage son plays ball and Legred says the program is growing.

"It's a win/win for everyone if we can all benefit from that piece of property," he said. "The fair board is as much a part of it as the ball programs are. We have adequate room; it's in the ideal location. It's just how to situate this thing together."

Legred suggested that he "sit down with [Murray] and work out a plan that works for both sides. Now we've got to put pen to paper."

Councilman Allen Aukes asked if a temporary fence could be used.

"We'll have to have some kind of fence," said Legred. "Where we put the line will determine where the temporary fence is."

Legred and Murray were instructed to put a plan together and present it Nov. 19.



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