The Watertown City Council met in closed session during its regularly scheduled July 9 meeting to discuss the possible purchase of the land that is currently known as Madison-Green Park.
The 1.5-acre parcel has been maintained by Watertown City Staff for the last 25 years as part of its public park system, though the land actually is privately owned by Trinity Lutheran Church. The city and church reached a lease agreement in 1988. That lease was since renewed several times, and is now renewed on a year-to-year basis.
The church, located at 513 Madison St. SE, about a block from the park property at 700 Madison St. SE, would now like to market the property, but first presented the city with an option to purchase. Details of the proposal are unknown, as the council held it’s discussions in a closed session.
Minnesota’s open meetings laws allow public meetings to be closed to discuss property transactions. The city hasn’t always closed meetings for that purpose — the council discussed the purchase of a property near Highland Park last year during several open meetings — but opted to close the meeting this time.
Any actual purchase or sale of property by the city must be approved at an open meeting, so any agreements reached based on considerations of Trinity’s offer during last week’s closed session would need to reappear during an open meeting before any sale would be finalized.
Under state law, last week’s closed session also was required to be recorded. Upon the potential sale of the property, or after discussions are abandoned, the audio tape must be made available to the public and saved for at least eight years.
Contact Matt Bunke at firstname.lastname@example.org