Crane Lake Township

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POSTING-Overview of Crane Lake Proposed




Overview of Crane Lake’s Proposed Land Exchange


On Tuesday, August 29th, Crane Lake will hold a Special Town Meeting to formalize the Township’s intention to purchase acreage from Minnesota Power that lies outside of the community’s boundaries. The land is intended to be used in an exchange for Forest Service land of equal value that lies within the Town boundaries.  The Forest Service land would be used by the Township to implement the grant funded development plan authored by community members, assisted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Changing Landscapes.  The meeting on the 29th will seek authorization by the electorate for the Township Board of Supervisors to proceed with the purchase that facilitates the land exchange – the culmination of a six-year process that began with Crane Lake’s 2001 Community Action Plan. The specific intended uses of the land were developed in a series of community planning sessions and as the result of input from community members who participated by attending or who were contacted by mail in a community survey.

NOTE: This overview is intended to aid in clarifying where Crane Lake is in the process of actualizing its Community Action Plan. To dispel misconceptions, it is important to note that Tuesday’s meeting is not intended to commit the community to construction of a town hall or other structures. The meeting is only concerned with provisions of the land exchange.


Following is a description of the process leading up to next Tuesday’s meeting:

            May 2000 –

The Town of Crane Lake hosts the Governor’s Fishing Opener.

Crane Lake residents are made aware that they need their own form of local government realizing how far removed they are from the County Board of Commissioners which was their governing body.

            February 2001 –

Meeting of the community leaders to discuss and develop a Community Action Plan.  A $5,000 grant from the US Forest Service was established to fund the project.

            April 3, 2001 –

Meeting of the entire community of Crane Lake to provide community input to the development of a vision for the future Top priority community projects were determined and a Steering Committee was established and empowered by the citizens to develop a Community Action Plan (CAP) with a Mission Statement, priority projects and then to subcommittee each priority project to oversee development of those projects.  The CAP was printed and distributed May 1, 2001

Priority Projects:

Sewer and Water System

Form a Local Form of Government

Internet and Cell Phone Service

Connecting Multi-use 4 Season Trail system

Community Center

More Land for Private Development


            June 2002 –

The Town of Crane Lake was established giving the people their own form of local government.

To comply with the wishes of the Community members as per the CAP land was researched for a possible building site for a community building/town hall.

            February 2003 –

The Forest Service contacted the Chair of the Board of Supervisors to discuss a land exchange with the Town of Crane Lake.  This would give the Town ownership of approximately 80 acres which includes the Telephone Company building and the Fire Department Hall.

           August 12, 2003 –

A line item of $10,000 was added to the Town’s annual budget for the purpose of developing the land exchange and trail system.  The vote of 50 votes cast was 44 yes and 6 no.  Item was passed.  Every budget since 2003 has included funds for the land exchange and trail system projects without opposition.


            August 2006 –

Land has been found belonging to Minnesota Power that the Forest Service has approved for the exchange.  Legal process is being done to: 1. Give the Town Board of Supervisors the right to enter into a purchase agreement with MN Power, and 2. Give the voters in the Town of Crane Lake the right to vote on the funding of the exchange project.

Purchase price of the land to be exchanged is $171,500.00 for 320 acres which lie outside of the Town’s boundaries.  Acquired by the Town in the exchange will be approximately 80 acres which lie in the Crane Lake boundaries beginning on Handberg Road, consisting of two 40’s running south which include the Fire Hall and telephone building. The Forest Service exchanges value for value not acre for acre.  It will be necessary for the Town to borrow the funds for the purchase.  The loan range would be from $150,000 to the top amount of $170,000 depending on the legal expenses and other purchase expenses.  A loan of $150,000 will raise real estate taxes $29 per $100,000 real estate taxable value or a loan of $170,000 will raise real estate taxes $33.00 per $100,000 real estate taxable value as projected by the St. Louis County auditor’s office.  The pay back will be calculated on 30 years; however, as the land is sub-divided and acquired into private ownership the purchase funds will be used to pay down on the Town’s loan and the land will be placed on the tax rolls for the benefit of the Town.

Included in this Forest Service land exchange are two private individuals who will receive a total of 120 acres of land in the Town’s boundaries for land now in their ownership which they are exchanging to the Forest Service. Neither individual will receive an increase in acres now owned.  This newly acquired land will immediately be placed on the tax rolls to the benefit of the Town.

At the completion of the exchange and the final sale of the Town’s acquired land there will be a potential of approximately 200 acres added to the tax rolls.  The Volunteer Fire Department will have ownership of their own property, the Town will have the option to sell or lease land to the telephone company generating income for the Town, land will be set a side for a future town hall building and property will be available for growth of the Town with more property in private ownership to increase the Town’s tax base.

If you have any questions about the land exchange process please feel free to call Ruth L. Carlson, Chair of Land Exchange for the Town of Crane Lake @ 993-2424 or JoAnn Pohlman, Town Clerk @ 993-1303.