Supporters of the American Legion Campground in Detroit Lakes were heartened to find that an original deed prohibits commercial development at the site.
But they shouldn't pop the champagne cork just yet.
The inclusion of the American Legion site in potential development plans was based on input from public meetings held over the summer, said City Administrator Kelcey Klemm. "It's just a concept, so we don't want to put a lot of time into defending it. We haven't done a bunch of research on it, but our understanding is that the deed (that restricts commercial development) only covers a small part of the parking lot between the clubhouse and the bathhouse. The rest of the property has no deed restrictions on it."
Any ideas for developing the Legion property are "very preliminary," he stressed. "It was one of the options presented by planners this summer," and there will be another such public planning meeting Dec. 18 at city hall, he said.
Legion supporters are concerned that the campground could fall to development in the next few years, as Detroit Lakes makes major improvements on West Lake Drive, which runs alongside the mile-long beach.
Planners with RDG Planning & Design, hired by the city to study improvements along the beach area, are looking at options to upgrade the small resorts along West Lake Drive, as well as the American Legion Campground - changing some of the more run-down areas to condos or multi-family development, while keeping some space in those areas for commercial use.
The Legion campground, the parking lot, and the Legion building itself have always been located on land owned by the city.
The Legion leases the campground property from the city for $7,500 a year, and pays annual property tax of about $3,000. The city leases out the land under the Legion post itself for just $1 a year.
The American Legion post in Detroit Lakes uses revenue generated from the campground to fund its operations and to make charitable contributions, both locally and statewide. It also provides a home to the local Disabled American Veterans group.