Ownership of R.L. Frazee Park may be a surprise
By Barbie Porter
Vacated parcels and R.L. Frazee Park were two of several land ownership items the school district has reviewed in recent months.
The Schoo Buildings and Grounds Committee met on Tuesday, Feb. 22 and reviewed parcels of land that have been claimed by the city and school district at different times through history.
Being that the two entities work together, the issue of ownership was left to urban legends. The school board decided it was time to define those unknowns and hired an attorney to dig into parcels with ownership confusion.
During the land parcel review, Superintendent Terry Karger said five parcels adjoining school property are marked vacated. While the intent for the parcels is not known, it may have been considered for a potential road in the past, Karger added.
The vacated parcel locations include three rectangular stripes extending from Fifth Street North to the paved path that goes from the elementary to Red Willow Heights. Two more vacated parcels were found, one of which includes part of the elementary building closest to Third Avenue Northwest. Along the road, near the water tower, a vacated parcel was identified stretching into a baseball diamond that abuts the track.
The city-owned vacated parcels are a topic Karger would like to discuss with the Frazee City Counsel, as well as ownership of other parcels, including R.L. Frazee Park. The high school park and the parking lot across State Highway 87 were thought to be owned by the city in recent years. Karger said the land ownership documents reflect the school owning the parcel, including the parking lot and park.
School board member Tyler Trieglaff noted that information may surprise some, as it has long been thought the property was owned by the city.
Karger emphasized he would like to chat with city officials.
Karger added the school attorney reviewing the matter also found details regarding a large piece of property along the Otter Tail River. The piece includes the majority of the elementary gym, a ball field and more. Karger reported a transaction was found by the school’s attorney that showed the city deeded the west side of the property, following North River Drive, to the school district. The east side of the road was kept under city ownership. Karger added, the GIS map the county has does not reflect the finding.
Two baseball diamonds were also identified to be owned by the city. Karger noted it could be left as is, split between the school and city or turned over to the school. The reason to identify ownership has to do with insurance. Should a catastrophic event take out the bleachers or score board, it would need to be known which entity has those items covered with insurance. At the very least, Karger said it was recommended to create a lease agreement with the city to identify who is responsible.
North River Drive was also a topic of discussion at the committee meeting. Karger provided a map of the road, which intersects State Highway 87 just before the bridge over the Otter Tail River. He noted the entrance of the road will be improved by the Minnesota Department of Transportation when the highway is reconstructed this coming summer.
The next section of road extends from the track to the north side of the paved path, which is property owned by the school district.
Karger said that portion is owned by the city. The school owns the next section that leads almost to County Highway 29. Karger said that section of road is closed to the public.
Potential for financial assistance with the road development may come from the Wannigan Park Committee, which is interested in using the road as the park’s main access.
The park would offer acres for outdoor recreation to the public.
While looking through land ownership on the county site, Karger said he learned the district owns a wooded one-acre parcel near Height of Land Lake.