Minnesota family fights township after leaders remove their street service
HILLMAN TOWNSHIP, Minn. (FOX 9) - Over an hour north of the Twin Cities near Mora, a family in a small township is feeling boxed in by the local government. The township board says the road to their home will not be maintained going forward.
The fight between the Crisman family and the township has become the talk of the town. It was also the focus of an annual meeting on Tuesday.
Renee and Andy Crisman have made a home of their land off Hornet Street for four and a half years. But now, Hillman Township says that part of the road doesn’t exist.
"It just doesn’t seem like the right time to make the road disappear," said Renee. "The Crismans now don’t get any mail. "We have to go into the post office to pick it up."
Their road also isn’t being plowed any more, and they're also worried the school bus could stop coming.
"There’s no other way to get here, there’s no way for an ambulance or fire truck if we need it."
With Hornet Street wiped off the map, the family of five may soon be cut off from their own home. The problems began in 2017, the Crismans say the township wasn’t maintaining the entire road, stopping short of their driveway. The couple asked the township to go all the way but were told no.
"It was very hurtful, that was the reward we get for asking for help," said Renee.
The Crismans fixed the road themselves, to the tune of $20,000.
"So we did that in 2019, we added over 100 loads of gravel on the road," said Renee.
They’ve taken snow removal on themselves too.
"We aren’t even allowed to do that, we aren’t even allowed to use the road because it’s disappeared in their words," said Andy.
At this point, the township says the road hasn’t been maintained for 40 years. Because of that, its ownership reverts to the property owner, the Crismans’ neighbor. Renee and Andy sued the township, but a judge ruled against them, and now the Crismans are asking for that to be reconsidered.
"It’s very simple, it’s very inexpensive, and it would bring an end and peace to this entire township," said Renee.
At the same time, the township has extended a different gravel road near the home, advising Renee and Andy to build a new driveway to meet it. But a new driveway through pasture, trees, rocks and swamp would not be cheap.
"To the point of spending thousands of dollars on the road, we have to draw the line," said Renee. "We already have a road, it’s been there 100 years, more than 100 years. Let’s use that."