Council gives final approval to land donation

Staff Report

Twin Hollow Associates soon will begin development of a three-mile looped trail winding along the Mississippi River near Cliff Cave Park.

The County Council last week unanimously approved a deal to accept the 35-acre trail as a donation from the company. Twin Hollow also will lease another 267 acres to the county at a nominal price until 2013 when the county would take ownership of the land, also just south of Cliff Cave Park.

Construction of the trail could begin in April and take as long as two years, but Twin Hollow could only work on it from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays that aren’t national holidays, according to the legislation. The company also would provide a $250,000 letter of credit to guarantee the work meets county standards.

In return for the donation, Twin Hollow will receive five 50-foot wide access roads, or easements, to access its barges on the river and its remaining land situated between the donation. The company also will keep a 100-foot wide strip of riverbank adjacent to the trail.

When similar legislation was introduced last year, residents on the bluffs overlooking the Twin Hollow property worried that a back-room deal would allow Twin Hol-low to construct a barge-repair operation or industrial park. Such a change would lower their property values and obstruct their scenic views, they contended.

At the time, the company was hauling rock to raise parts of the flood plain near the river and the county would have allowed that operation for two more years.

Once raised, the land could be used for industrial purposes.

But not anymore. A task force of the residents worked with Twin Hollow to smooth out concerns, and the current proposal doesn’t allow the company to elevate anymore flood plain.

Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, who sponsored the legislation, said at a recent meeting, “I would like to thank Twin Hollow for working with the task force in my area. Ultimately, the community is the winner in this whole thing, both the community and Twin Hollow.”