The city of Prescott has decided not to renew a lease that has allowed Leo’s Landing, a marina located on the St. Croix River near its confluence with the Mississippi, to operate for the past several decades. The business operates a busy gas dock, convenience store, and rents out slips.
The city says canceling the lease is necessary to make way for the second phase of a riverfront redevelopment project.
“We took several things into consideration [when voting to cancel the lease],” said Alderperson Darlyn Hintz at a May 8 city council meeting. “This has been something that we have been looking at for a while. Our biggest motivator with this is we are looking forward with the next stage of building our waterfront.”
A first phase of the riverfront rehabilitation project was completed upstream of Leo’s last fall. The city is now focusing on the area around the marina. Plans call for restoring the shoreline, a new fishing pier, restrooms, a new dock for the boat launch, among other projects. Plans also call for “exploring options for additional dock space.”
In response, Leo’s Landing supporters have launched a petition and a public relations campaign asking the city to reconsider the decision. While the marina is largely afloat on the water, it is accessed through a dock that crosses city property. There has been some disagreement over the property ownership, but the city says two recent surveys have confirmed its title.
“You can’t just put a business out of business that’s been in business for 38 years or 50 years,” co-owner Tom Anderson told the council. “It’s a family livelihood. We have put millions of dollars in that marina.”
As of this publication, more than 3,000 people have signed the petition expressing disapproval of the plan. The marina’s current lease is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. Neighboring marina Point St. Croix also has a city lease, but it won’t expire until 2030.