News

Milestones

  • October 10th is the first anniversary of the founding of the Friends as a Minnesota Corporation.
  • The concrete slab for the main floor was poured Friday September 29th and Wednesday October 4th.
  • Construction began with excavation in early September, footings were poured on September 13th, foundation and first-floor walls were poured on September 20th.
  • September 10, 2017 – the Groundbreaking Celebration took place Sunday from 2-5 PM at the site, 10000 Stillwater Lane N, Lake Elmo MN 55042. After some short dedications, there was a Raptor Show with a hawk, an owl, a falcon and an eagle presented by Ian of The Raptor Center,  and a Blandings Turtle was shown by Jessie of the Carpenter Nature Center. Visitors could dig for dinosaurs, walk the nature trail, get nature information, get gifts for the kids, tour the nature-mobile, see the building plans, and get free snacks and beverages donated by Lake Elmo Inn Event Center, Hagberg’s Country Market, Gorman’s Family Restaurant, and Caribou Coffee at Oakdale Village. See the news article at http://www.lillienews.com/articles/2017/09/19/ground-broken-new-lake-elmo-nature-center and at http://lillienews.com/content/gallery-ground-broken-new-lake-elmo-nature-center
  • Building Permit issued September 1, 2017
  • August 15, 2017 The Lake Elmo City Council approves the building plans as submitted for the building permit. There are a few technical details to be handled before the building permit can be issued.
  • July 31, 2017 The Minnesota Land Trust gives written approval of the project, ruling that the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center is an acceptable use as envisioned by the 2009 Conservation Easement.
  • July 4, 2017 The Friends’ bus was parked on the sidelines at the Lake Elmo Kids Parade, and we handed out flyers for the Nature Center.
  • June 28, 2017 At the Lake Elmo Library Summer Reading Program, the attendees were asked their opinion of what an “Interpretive Nature Center” would be, and were given materials to build their own nature center exhibits.  Check out the picture under Week 3, June 28th at  http://www.lakeelmopubliclibrary.org/?page_id=823 .
  • June 1, 2017 The Friends’ Bluebird Bus was transformed to a billboard, and taken to our presentations for the Jaycees and the Rotary. It will be our construction field office, then converted to a Nature-mobile.
  • May 17, 2017 Feature article on front page of Oakdale – Lake Elmo Review gives details of Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center development, mentions the special mission. ( http://eastsidereviewnews.com/articles/2017/05/19/new-lake-elmo-nature-center-honor-resident%E2%80%99s-late-wife )
  • May 14, 2017 Article in St. Paul Pioneer Press Local Section describes the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center.  http://www.twincities.com/2017/05/12/lake-elmo-man-to-build-nature-center-as-memorial-to-late-wife/
  • April 28th, 2017 Front-page story in the Gazette (StillwaterGazette.com) describes the Council action and gives details of the Lease Agreement. http://stillwatergazette.com/2017/05/03/nature-center-planned-in-sunfish-lake-park/
  • April 18th, 2017 – The Lake Elmo City Council has voted 5-0 to approve a Lease Agreement with the Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park. The Friends is a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of establishing a nature center, and will build the Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center on the leased acre of land just south of the parking lot in Sunfish Lake Park. The nature center will be contained in a building of about 2000 square feet.  The main purpose of the nature center is to be alive with programs and exhibits for people of all ages. These features will concentrate on local wildlife and plants, the ecology of the park, and the agricultural heritage of the City. This nature center will not compete with established centers of learning such as the Lee and Rose Warner Nature Center operated by the Science Museum of Minnesota or the Belwin Nature Center operated by the Belwin Conservancy, both of which specialize in serving large groups of students. Its size, and the scope of its programs, will be more suited to smaller school groups, preschool classes, and people with special needs, and it will mentor Citizen Science by encouraging a sense of wonder, and questions, and observations.
  • February 23, 2017 – Friends of Lake Elmo’s Sunfish Lake Park approved by Internal Revenue Service as a 501c3 non-profit organization, may accept tax-advantage donations. Awaiting banking/accounting setup before fundraising starts.
  • February 22, 2017 – Lake Elmo Parks Commission unanimously votes to accept updated Lease Agreement and recommend City Council approval!
  • Spring/Summer 2016 – Negotiations with new City Attorney Sarah Sonsalla result in a balanced agreement of September 2016
  • June 8, 2015- Presented to Lake Elmo Planning Commission, voted 7-0 that the proposal is consistent with Lake Elmo’s official 2030 Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan.
  • May 18, 2015 – Presented idea to Lake Elmo Parks Commission, voted 7-0 to encourage us to keep working on the project.
  • April 28, 2015 – Met with City planner Alyssa MacLeod to Present idea for Sally Manzara Interpretive Nature Center– she was encouraging and supportive; a nature center in Sunfish Lake Park is “something we want to do”.
  • June 30, 2009 – Lake Elmo concludes a Conservation Easement for Sunfish Lake Park with the Minnesota Land Trust, envisioning a nature interpretive center in “Area 2” south of the parking lot (refer to copy of Conservation Easement via link on bottom of home page).