Dozens turn out to protest possible Root River Park expansion - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Dozens turn out to protest possible Root River Park expansion

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PLEASANT GROVE, Minn. (KTTC) -- Homeowners swarmed the Pleasant Grove town hall Monday night to voice their concerns over the proposed expansion of the Root River Regional Park. 

A few of the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners were there to respond to some of those worried about the issue.

All of the concerned landowners came to give one common message, 'Scrap the Map'.  The proposed park expansion includes a zoning plan that could leave nearly 30 families with their homes in jeopardy.

This threat led to the standing room only, and left many others huddled outside the town hall building.

Currently, the Board of Commissioners are in the first stages of the official mapping process, and county employees clearly stated there would be no condemning property or evictions. However, it did not take away the fact that these families could lose a piece of home that for some, has been in their lineage for generations.

"We really need to step up to fight to protect our land rights, the future for our kids, and just how important it is that it just can't be taken from us," said landowner Kristin Dee.

No final decisions have been made about the park expansion yet, but the individuals whose property was selected for acquisition were chosen based on the level of biodiversity, flood protection and ground water erosion that would be suitable for public use.

When asked whether a unanimous vote to oppose the park expansion would change the outcome, commissioners said the properties would still be looked at and that the project would not be stopped.

County board members say the next steps could be several things, including tweaking the zoning for park expansion, holding more public meetings, and providing more information to landowners.

Members say it could be weeks or months before the final public hearing.

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