Two bills have been passed by Minnesota House and Senate Committees and have had their second readings, HF 107 and SF 779.
The next step in the Legislature will be the bills are sent to conference committee to reconcile the differences between the two bills, or Rep. Kelly could ask his bill be amended to conform to the Senate bill. At the conference committee, additional testimony about the provisions of the bills could be taken. If the House bill is amended to conform to the Senate bill, then the bill is sent to the governor for approval without further public input.
The House bill somehow came to the Legislature from the City. There was never a resolution from the City Council asking for the legislation. The City’s unofficial proposed bill placed no restrictions on whether there had to be a public sale of the property, (meaning listed for sale), whether the land had to be used for “public” recreational purposes, and whether it could be used for “only” public recreational purposes.
Thankfully, and credit to Sen. Howe, the Senate version took into account the public’s interest in the bill. He amended the bill to require public use, and only public use for recreational purposes.
The City Council dodged addressing the differences in the legislation at their 3/28 meeting. The two bills were in the council packets for their meeting but the Council decided to not have a public, open discussion of the bills.
As much as the Red Wing City Council insists they want to keep MNGL a public asset, legislation which would allow the development of motels, housing, etc. on the property moves forward with the full throated support of the City.