The future of Log House Landing will look a lot like its past. After a year-long debate over the future of the historic St. Croix River access in Scandia, the city council last week voted to halt plans to pave and modernize its rustic gravel road.
“We are very encouraged by these events and look forward to our continued participation with the City to promote appropriate solutions that preserve this historic and ecologically sensitive gateway to the St. Croix River,” Friends of Log House Landing spokeswoman Pam Smith wrote in an email.
Mayor Randall Simonson pre-empted a planned presentation about the landing with a motion to take no further action on modernization proposal that had been the subject of several meetings and votes since last summer. The move came as the $400,000 project proposal lost financial support from a key partner.
The local watershed district recently withdrew its funding contribution, citing the increased environmental impact of a wider paved road. Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District directors also voted recently to support either of the less intensive options that had been identified.
Those options would either re-grade the existing gravel surface to reduce erosion, or use a “bound-aggregate” material, with chlorides to stabilize the surface. Both proposals would also include small ponds to capture stormwater and settle out sediment, streambank stabilization, and a small rock ditch on the north side of the road. Both would cut sediment pollution to the river by at least 70 percent. Either option would carry initial costs and 30 years of maintenance totalling about half the cost for the 20′ paved road that had been proposed.
A small group of people who had been working on the issue for the past several months was prepared to make a presentation about the two options at the meeting, but the decision to abandon the project was made before they even had a chance to do so.
After rejecting the paving plan, the mayor also suggested the group work with the city’s new Public Works Director on the issue once that individual is hired in coming months.