Mississippi National public meeting rescheduled
The first public meeting on the potential sale of Mississippi National Golf Links has been rescheduled for April 19.
The meeting, which was originally planned for April 7, will give both the city and opponents of the sale a chance to present information, city officials said.
Council members generally approved of the shift in date, but Council member Peggy Rehder said she was concerned about the later date.
"There's been a lot of information flying around, some of it true and some of it not," she said. "It's not a healthy situation. ... The longer this hangs out there with bad information, the more difficult it gets."
Council Administrator Kay Kuhlmann said city staff members are putting together a list of answers to frequently asked questions about the sale of the course, which she said should be up on the city's website sometime this week.
The April 19 meeting will begin at 5 p.m. and run into a Planning Commission meeting with a public hearing on the sale.
Planning Director Brian Peterson said he did not have a problem with back-to-back meetings, but reiterated the narrow role of the Planning Commission - to determine if the sale of Mississippi National fits with the city's comprehensive plan.
City Council is scheduled to discuss the negotiation strategy for the sale in a closed session April 26 and make the proposed agreement public at its May 9 meeting. Another public meeting is scheduled for May 12, with May 23 listed as the earliest possible date the council would act on the sale.
Erik Fridell, member of the group Save MNGL, spoke at Monday's City Council meeting, questioning the amount of money the city has said it can save by selling the course. He also advocated finding an alternative.
"Absolutely, categorically we do not want it sold," Fridell said.
But two other Red Wing residents also spoke at Monday's meeting, saying while they enjoy the golf course, there are better ways the city could be spending its money during a time of financial difficulties.
The city has cited tight budgets and cutting back on non-essential services as motivations for selling the course.
A bill clarifying the right of the city to sell the course to a private developer is advancing in the state Legislature. The state gave the property where Mississippi National sits to the city of Red Wing in the 1970s.
While there has been friction between city officials and some citizens who don't want the course sold, Fridell said he appreciates the upcoming public meetings and increasingly transparent process.
"The process is becoming more and more open," he said at Monday's meeting. "It's getting better and we're having dialogue."
Schedule for possible sale of Mississippi National
April 19: Public meeting at 5 p.m. at City Hall. City officials will discuss background information on the proposed sale of the course, and the Save MNGL group will give a presentation.
April 19: The Advisory Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the sale at 7 p.m., after the public meeting. The commission will make a recommendation on whether the sale fits with the city's comprehensive plan.
April 25: City Council will go into a closed session at its regular meeting to discuss the negotiation strategy for the sale.
May 9: The council would include the proposed sale agreement on the agenda at its regular meeting, and it will be available to the public.
May 12: A second public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at City Hall to discuss the proposed sale agreement.
May 23: The earliest meeting at which the council would make a decision on the sale.