Historic Arcola Mills will not be opened to the public as a St. Croix National Scenic Riverway visitor center, yet. A proposal was voted down this week because of parking and traffic issues. According to the Star Tribune, all parties involved are committed to making the idea a reality soon.
The National Park Service (NPS) won’t be opening a visitor center on the Minnesota side of the St. Croix River this summer because of concerns over traffic and parking.
The agency’s proposal to establish a presence at Arcola Mills, a historic site north of Stillwater, was denied Thursday by the May Township board. The decision overturned a planning commission recommendation that the town allow a trial period to gauge traffic and other concerns.
“I’m not terribly discouraged by the denial,” said Ray Marshall, who chairs the foundation that oversees 55 acres, including an eight-bedroom Greek Revival house. “I believe that everybody on the township supports the idea of Arcola and the NPS going forward together.”
The township board invited NPS and Arcola to make a new presentation in August, he said. Neighbors who spoke at town meetings supported the idea, “but they think it has to be done in a way to minimize problems that are going to result,” Marshall said.
The site was opened to the public for the month of October last year as an experiment. The trial was a big success, with people visiting from throughout the region to tour the 55-acre grounds and enjoy beautiful fall colors.