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U.S. Steel to sell land for Lake Vermilion state park

Gov. Tim Pawlenty's dream of turning undeveloped Lake Vermilion shoreline into a state park has taken a giant step forward.

Several years of negotiations between U.S. Steel, which owns the property, and the state had faltered. The corporation was moving forward to develop 1,400-acre parcel into upscale housing. The parcel includes five miles of Vermillion shoreline.

The state had set aside $20 million for the land purchase and to turn it into campgrounds and trails. U.S. Steel wanted more, but state law prevented the state from offering more.

But today Pawlenty announced that U.S. Steel has agreed to sell the property to the state of Minnesota for $18 million. A $2.3 million gap will be treated as a donation.

The governor will ask legislators in the upcoming session to remove the cap imposed on the deal two years ago.