By Harley Doering
On Monday, May 10, at 6 p.m., the Caledonia City Council will be holding a public hearing at the Caledonia Auditorium concerning the future of the Sprague Woods Natural Park Preserve. The park is located on the northwest edge of the Caledonia City limits.
This parcel of land was originally donated and deeded to Caledonia Green in 1995 in memory of Bob and Madge Sprague. Caledonia Green was charged with creating a natural park preserve for all citizens to enjoy. In 2006 Caledonia Green deeded the park to the City of Caledonia with the firm intention that the park would continue as natural park preserve indefinitely as the Sprague family originally intended.
As stated April 21 in the Caledonia Argus, the Caledonia City Council is currently exploring options to keep the preserve as a green space or to rezone the woods for commercial purposes and then to sell this parcel of land.
Many Caledonia residents are adamantly against the sale of this last remaining wooded area within the city limits. This moist mesic forest includes enormous trees that cannot be replaced, as well as many varieties of protected flora. The wildlife including wild turkeys, deer, fox, and a variety of birds find sanctuary in this natural preserve.
The Sprague Woods provides a free place for people to go and enjoy nature within the city limits. The value of this wooded area for people to visit and enjoy cannot have a monetary value put on it.
If this property were to be sold and the property developed, there would be greatly increased noise pollution, water runoff, erosion, and light pollution. The esthetic value of this area would be destroyed as well as greatly reduced property values for those who live near the woods.
If you feel strongly that the city should continue honoring the original agreement and intentions of the Sprague family for the preservation of this nature preserve, contact the city mayor and council members.
•Tank Schroeder, mayor –email@example.com
•Amanda Ninneman, council member – firstname.lastname@example.org
•Bob Klug, council member – email@example.com
•Brad Rykhus, council member – firstname.lastname@example.org
•David Fitzpatrick, council member – email@example.com
City of Caledonia Clerk’s Office
231 East Main Street
PO Box 232
Caledonia, Minn. 55921
You may also support this effort to keep the Sprague woods as a natural park preserve by coming to the council meeting on Monday, May 10.