The frequently recurring topic of the Log House Landing was again on the agenda for the Scandia City Council’s Feb. 1 work session. Concern about erosion and what is the best use has been driving the discussion by the community, City Council and other players such as the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District.
Last year, Jim Shaver, administrator of the watershed district, presented an idea to the council to jointly renovate the landing area to ward off erosion and continue using it as a public access boat landing. After several meetings to discuss the agreement and get assurances from both sides that both would follow through with their part of the funding, an agreement was signed and the idea went forward with approval from the watershed district board and the Scandia City Council. A preliminary design was reviewed and approved by Scandia and the watershed district, with the final design approved in June 2016. The cost estimate for the project was a little under $34,000 with the National Park Service agreeing to contribute $15,000. Requests for bid proposals were sent to 24 companies with only one response, from Pember Construction in the amount of almost $148,000, well over the cost estimate.
Councilman Steve Kronmiller wanted to know if the council wants to continue the agreement with the watershed district.
“The city is doing the project because watershed wants them to, and watershed is doing the project because the city wants them to,” he said. “We are missing an opportunity and not looking at all of the options.”
Kronmiller suggested three options for the Log House Landing, with a fourth added by the council: Leave it as it is; limit its use to walk-in traffic only, with boats like canoes and kayaks; close the landing altogether; or do the renovation project.
“My board directed to get the erosion problem fixed at the ramp and to not limit access because it is like a national park,” Shaver said.
Councilmen Jim Schneider and Chris Ness want the boat landing to remain public.
“I would be dead-set against closing the boat ramp to all traffic,” Ness said.
“That area of the St. Croix River is just a gem for fishing,” Schneider added. “It’s a waste to limit it to canoes and kayaks.”
Mayor Christine Maefsky said that continued use of the landing would result in wake erosion A resolution was presented to ask the Parks and Recreation Committee to conduct a study of the landing area and the four options that were suggested. The resolution was approved on a 3-2 vote with Ness and Schneider voting against and Kronmiller, Hegland and Maefsky voting in favor.