Swedish monument to become Eagle Scout project
In 1850 Oscar Roos, Carl Fernström and August Sandahl emigrated from Västergötland and built a cabin by Hay Lake.
Today these first Swedish settlers in Minnesota are named on a 22-foot obelisk.
About two miles south of downtown Scandia, the monument is near the Hay Lake School and Johannes Erickson House, both on the National Register of Historic Places and owned by the Washington County Historical Society.
Luke Eklund has the go-ahead from the Historical Society, Scandia’s Parks and Recreation Committee, and the Scandia/Marine Lions Club, which will provide funding.
At its Nov. 20 meeting the Scandia council also approved the project.
Eklund will install two concrete benches donated by Elim Church, replace rotting sign posts, and plant Alpine Currents and Stella D’Oro daylilies.
As part of his presentation he acknowledged the work of Paul Clark, who has cut grass and trimmed trees at the site.
He also accepted the offer of incoming council member Dan Lee to water the new plants.
Tom Triplett said the Lions will provide $1,100 toward the project.
Eklund is a sophomore at Hill-Murray School.
Last summer Eagle Scout Jacob Otto replaced the bridge that links Hay Lake School with the Lion’s Park parking lot.
At the same meeting, the Washington County Historical Society director convinced the council to donate $1,000 toward a new Heritage Center.
Since the society was created in 1934, Brent Peterson said, it has saved buildings, starting with the old warden’s house in Stillwater and including the two in Scandia.
Now a new building is needed to provide a temperature- and humidity-controlled space for exhibits and records.
The society has found a building, Peterson said. “We have an architect and bankers on board, but we need money.”
He said Stillwater, Newport and Marine on St. Croix have agreed to help.
Mayor Randall Simonson voted against donating. At a recent open forum, he said, the city’s increased tax levy was labeled excessive by some.
The League of Minnesota Cities cautions municipalities against donating money, he added. “They told us we can’t donate to the Red Cross or Boy Scouts,” he said.
“The city of Scandia is not in the practice of donating funds to our own museum, the Gammelgarden,” he concluded.
Council member Jim Schneider agreed. “I’m all for not spending any more money,” he said.
Peterson cited an exemption in state statutes that lets cities donate to historical societies.
Scandia resident Mike White urged the council to donate. “I think the city should do something,” he said.
Dan Lee suggested the historical society solicit donations at Taco Daze or Vinterfest. “A lot of people attend those events,” he said.
Wayne Schmitt suggested Peterson approach the Scandia/Marine Lions, saying, “They support things like this.”
Council member Sally Swanson supported donating in spite of the need for sewer and road repairs. “Hay Lake is here, and we’re part of this county,” she said. “There’s got to be a way we can move money somewhere.”
Council member Chris Ness moved to donate $1,000. Swanson and Connie Amos voted with Ness. Simonson and Schneider voted no.
Ness moved to use an unspent $1,000 in the 2012 budget for council conference and seminars to pay for the donation. That motion also passed