OHV Park Opposition 07 Mar 12

Neighbors and property owners bordering a proposed off-highway vehicle park in Renville County want the county to stop it dead in its tracks.

The West Central Tribune reports the proposed $1.3 million park near the Minnesota River in Sacred Heart Township has the support of the township board of supervisors and the Minnesota River Valley ATV Club.

The county is currently applying for grant funds for the proposal but has not yet made a final decision on whether to go forward.

Many of those living near the site and owning property there believe county residents will oppose the park once they learn how it will impact the area. Tim Helgeson of Spicer says “I’m still optimistic the county board will think twice about it.’’ He and other landowners and residents hosted reporters at the site last week.

Gene Fenske and others say noise is a factor, but David Zaske says safety is the primary concern. County Road 15 is a gravel road that handles lots of truck traffic from gravel pit operations during the summer months. He says the park is sure to attract young riders who will use the road to reach the site and noted the remote location also means that emergency medical care and law enforcement services will not be readily available at the park, yet accidents and law-breaking incidents are inevitable.

“There is land better suited in Renville County than the site they’ve chosen,’’ according to Tom Kalahar, who hunts on land to be included in the park. He says “It’s a lack of planning and trying.’’

Tim Helgeson said developing a park is a direct affront to the intent — and a violation of the promises made — when the land is enrolled in conservation.

If they cannot make their case to the Renville County Board of Commissioners, the property owners said they would take it to the courts, but Helgeson says he hopes it doesn’t get to that.