At the Tuesday, March 3, St. Croix County board of supervisors meeting Gary Zappa, of North Hudson, presented St. Croix County Parks with a donation of $339,500. It was the final step after a long acquisition project toward the purchase of 170 acres for the future County park Eckert Blufflands on the St. Croix. During the meeting Zappa took the opportunity to thank the County for seeing the project through. “I’d like to thank the board for their patience, and a special thanks to Ellen Denzer for staying with this project and making it a reality,” said Zappa. County Administrator Pat Thompson thanked Zappa for the generous contribution “of $300,000 and change.” Supervisor Dan Hansen added, “Gary, you’re a good neighbor, a good citizen of the County, and a great example to all of us. You set the bar very high. Thank you.”
The County purchased a deed restriction on 6.75 acres preventing any future development other than one single family home, 2 acres to add to the new County park, Eckert Blufflands and two easements for $339,336.30 . As part of this agreement the County granted a driveway access through the new park. Zappa had owned the land for many years, but without access was not able to use his property fully. Zappa plans to build a home. From the time Zappa initially contacted the County he expressed interest in donating money to the County to help develop this future park. Community development director Ellen Denzer said, “There have been many generous donations over the years, but this cash gift is the largest we’ve seen and will go a long way to provide a quality facility at Eckert Blufflands for St. Croix County residents and visitors.”
Gary is the president of Zappa Brothers Excavating in North Hudson and has been an active member of the community for many years. He said he hopes his donation will be a great first step in developing the park and facilities. “I’m happy this worked out, and I’m looking forward to working with the County in the future.”
Private donations of any amount help the County leverage other federal and state funds for large scale projects, such as this bluffland mitigation park development, or help contribute to the daily operations of providing access to resources for everyone.