During the Chair’s report, Board Chair Chris Nelson said, “As everyone is aware, there has been a lawsuit filed against the county for the Stower Trail.” He said there have been a lot of phone calls from individuals and Townships with questions about it. “I just want to make sure the public is aware the county has hired Von Briesen (Law Firm). We have Corporation Counsel that is on top of this. My job as the Chair is to follow County policy and the County policy has been trying for 15 years to let other people use the trail. We voted to let people use the trail. The county is full steam ahead to defend this issue and there will be more notice later,” said Nelson.
Nelson said he wants to public to be assured the County Board is going to work to make this the trail the public has asked them to do. “We won’t give up on this case. All the resources are there to defend us.” he said.
Nelson said there had been discussions over the past month about tourism. He said, “It is kind of a sad day in Polk County when we fund the tourism, this year it was $75,000, and the Tourism President, actually after the County Board voted to pass the policy open up the Stower Trail, tried to undermine our policy. He is a former County Board Chair and he went to a non-motorized trail commission made a motion in that meeting to ask the DNR to basically tear up our MOU (memorandum of understanding) with them and not allow the trail to be used as the County Board has requested it.”
Nelson said this was clearly something that would have to be addressed at County Board. “The amount of funding we give tourism and yet they are not promoting tourism and the County policy,” said Nelson.
Nelson said, “I sent him (Tourism President) a letter. He responded, but really did not respond and I will just leave it at that.”
He said the board would have to discuss this when Budget Season rolls around.