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City used to protect parks

August 1, 2012
The Journal

To the editor:

Because of concerns with PUC plans to place a water storage tank in Nehls Park and a lack of information on the project, we located some interesting facts in the City records.

First we found the regulation stated in 2005 under the present city manager: "City Ordinance NO. 05-033

"The City Council finds that the preservation and development of parks, playgrounds, and open space areas within the City are essential to maintaining a healthy and desirable environment for residents and persons employed within the City, and it also finds that the value and attractiveness of residential, commercial, and industrial developments to land owners, owners, purchasers, employers, and employees is significantly enhanced by the presence of such park and open space amenities."

The PUC's reference to the site being the cheapest solution does not factor in the costs in value to the entire community. Nehls Park is easily only second to German Park in esthetic value, and it provides activities for the whole community.

We also found a letter from Country Commissioner Denis J. Warta presented to the City Council on Dec. 16, 1975. It explains that the Nehls property that was taken by the State in lieu of taxes, is being offered to the City and must serve the public good and in his opinion a park would serve that purpose. Furthermore, Warta states, The designation of this land hereafter be titled and called "Nehls Park" if the property is accepted. What is to be concluded except that the property would become a park to justify its acceptance?

The city accepted the property which also required allowing Mr. Nehls to live on the property for the rest of his life.

The use of the land was reaffirmed when a previous effort to add a water reservoir occurred shortly after the acceptance. The City Council proceedings report that the issue brought a number of concerned citizens who were also represented by New Ulm Attorney Wm. T. O'Connor to the Council meeting. After several spoke, a motion was unanimously passed stating, "that the Nehls property is not available for a site of a water reservoir."

I believe that it is fair to say that the common and the correct understanding of the past city administration and the citizens of New Ulm has been that Nehls Park is to be a "park, playground, and open space" and remain a "park, playground, and open space," not to be used for other purposes.

One could accuse us of NIMBY, but there already is a large water storage tank in our neighborhood on our end of the golf course, but we especially do not want to see another one breaking up an established park. We plan to bring a petition to the next Council meeting that respectfully asks for further study.

Paul & Jeanette Boehlke, Andrew Boehlke

New Ulm



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