An interesting story out of Minnesota may give readers of our blog here in Michigan more information about real estate transactions and how property can be transferred from private ownership to public ownership.

In Minnesota’s Dakota County sits a sprawling 60 acre chunk of land that boasts a “unique oasis” so close to the Twin Cities area. The land was once completely owned by a man by the name of Anthony Caponi, who transformed the land into a sculpture park where artwork intermixes with the natural beauty of its surroundings.

Deemed Caponi Art Park, the city of Eagan decided in 2005 to purchase 30 acres of the property. It was their hope to make it more open to the public while greatly reducing the expenses Mr. Caponi would pay for the park’s upkeep. Now, in an effort to protect the remaining 30 acres from future development, Eagan and the county where the city lies have entered into property negotiations with the Caponi family. According to reports, the city and Dakota County have agreed to each pay Mr. Caponi $400,000 a piece for a total of $800,000 although a final price will ultimately need to be approved by the city.

If the real estate transaction goes through, “the city will be free to explore new territory for the park, including forming links with more artists.” The city hopes to make additions to the already existing sculptures in the park giving guests more exhibits to enjoy.

According to the purchase agreement with the city, Mr. Caponi and his wife will continue to live in their house in the park for as long as they wish.

Source: The Star Tribune, “Eagan in negotiations to own all of Caponi Art Park,” Laurie Blake, Dec. 5, 2012