Updated: 07/28/2014 12:53 PM
Created: 07/27/2014 10:17 PM KSTP.com
By: Jay Kolls
The Renville County Board wants to build a 270 acre, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) park and they want to use taxpayer money to get the job done.
The ATV park would run along a Minnesota Scenic Byway right through the heart of the Minnesota River valley in Renville County's Sacred Heart Township, about two hours west of the Twin Cities. Farm families dating back as far as 1868 do not want the ATV park in their backyards and they do not want tax money used to pay for it.
Norm Westby tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, "The ATV park will ruin wildlife habitat, wildlife grasslands, and fertile hunting grounds."
Westby says Renville County's plan to ask for $500,000 from the Minnesota Legacy Fund, and another $800,000 from Federal grants, "just adds insult to injury."
Westby says he and other opponents of the ATV park do not oppose the idea of such a park, just not in its proposed location. Westby says there are many other tracts of land within Renville County that would be better suited for an ATV park rather than the pristine Scenic Byway along the Minnesota River.
Renville County Board member, Lamont Jacobson, represents the district where the ATV park would be built. Jacobson says the ATV park would be owned and operated by Renville County and would bring in tourist dollars that could be as much as tens of thousands of dollars every year.
Jacobson says there is no indication that the ATV park would hurt wildlife, or damage hunting grounds. Jacobson also says he believes the Legacy money would be a proper use of the funds, for such a project.
The Renville County Board recently approved spending $130,000 to fund an engineering study of the proposed ATV park.