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Nisswa Lake Park funding again addressed

Nisswa Lake Park funding was again addressed Wednesday, April 16, when Fred Heidmann asked Nisswa City Council members’ stance on using city money for park development.

The issue was brought up last month, and council members were asked to review minutes from Oct. 21, 2009, specifically a 3-1 council vote regarding funding for the park project.

According to the 2009 minutes obtained after the April 16 meeting, council members voted 3-1 that no city funds be used for purchase or development of the park. Mayor Brian Lehman had left the meeting before the discussion; former council member Kim Larson cast the opposing vote.

The park land has since been purchased with funds that were raised, donated or from a grant. The city has committed park dedication funds, paid by developers and not levy dollars, for the next phases of park development.

During the open forum segment of the meeting, Fred Heidmann asked the three council members if they’d looked at those 2009 minutes, if they stood behind the 2009 decision and what their stand on using city money toward the park is.

Mayor Brian Lehman and council member Joe Meyer said they hadn’t reviewed the 2009 minutes. Council member Gary Johnson indicated he had seen those minutes.

“Every two years we have council people elected, so every two years we have a new council,” Lehman said. “A past council can’t dictate what a current council does.”

Heidmann said that’s why he was asking what this council’s stance is. He noted that Lehman and Johnson were on the council in 2009.

Heidmann said he would raise the question again next month.

After touching on a couple of other issues, Heidmann asked if it wasn’t time for Lehman to “step aside and let the city begin the healing process,” given poor decisions made with the handling of the police chief last summer, the apparent loss of trust of department heads that prompted them to form a union, and three city council resignations in the last eight months.

“If you understood what was going on you would never ask that question,” Lehman said.

“I beg to differ with that,” Heidmann said.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at Follow her at and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.