At the City Council meeting on November 22, 2022, a purchase of 9.51 acres from Jeff Hermansky, located west of City Park was authorized after it was listed for sale earlier in 2022 according to a news release issued by City Hall. By state statute, real estate negotiations for governing bodies are required to take place in executive session.
This purchase is a celebrated partnership between the City and Hermansky. Hermansky has been a Lander resident since 1977 and had the following to say about the recent sale,“When I purchased the land in 1985, Lander was facing a serious economic crisis and an uncertain future. Despite my hurdles, I unexpectedly became the ‘caretaker’ of part of our city’s critical open space. I always felt this land should be a natural expansion of Lander’s beautiful City Park. Today, I’m excited to see that our forward-thinking mayor, council, and staff have made an investment that will provide joy to all Lander citizens and visitors for generations to come.”
In an interview with Don Reynolds, Retired Director of Lander Parks and Recreation Department, he had the following to say about the purchase, “I would like to recognize and commend the Lander Mayor and City Council for their support and approval of the purchase of approximately 10 acres of land located on Fremont Street adjacent to City Park. The discussion surrounding the purchase of this land has been ongoing for over 30 years and the resulting action will now allow the City to move forward with planning for future development and use of this property.”
Reynolds continued, “The planning and eventual use of this land will be determined at some point in time, but the benefit to the City and the public is immediate. Open space is valuable and coveted because it is a long-term investment in our future. Undeveloped public-owned land within City limits is rare and valued because there is very little left in our community. The opportunities for positive outcomes of this property are unlimited with wise and
thoughtful discussion and planning.”
Reynolds concluded by sharing the origins of City Park, “Finally, a reminder of how our flagship City Park came to be. A group of local citizens back in the early 1900’s recognized the potential of the pasture land south of town for public open space and purchased it, planted trees and donated the property to the City. 125 years later, look what we have. For that era, that was forward thinking, visionary planning and decision making. The action by the City Council last night is following in these footsteps and I thank them for that.”
This purchase achieves five goals from the 2012 City of Lander Master Plan, which include:
• 1-16, Develop a program for land and Right of Way (ROW) acquisition to expand and maintain parks, trails and public open spaces
• 1-18, Expand City Park through adjacent property owners
• 1-23, Acquire strategic sites for snow storage
• 2-6, Support state and federal programs that acquire and protect public lands, trails, and scenic areas
2-15, Minimize impervious coverage in the 100-year floodplain.
The next step is to include this property in the updating of the 2012 master plan. There is an upcoming request for proposals to help the City of Lander develop a new master plan. The planning process will solicit community input. Please contact City Hall at 332-2870 for more information.