Dig this – it’s all the way to DENVER!

Minnesota Family Plans Tank Obstacle Course

The Borglum’s Application for a Conditional Use Permit had a hearing last night before the Waseca County Planning Commission, and the room was beyond standing room only. We were allotted 3 minutes, and despite that quashing, the hearing went on until 11:30 p.m., at which time it was tabled, with the Planning Commission wanting more information, including:

– Residence issue – is the nearest neighbor’s home a legal residence

– Is it a wetland? (rumor has it that a “cease and desist” order was issued yesterday)

– Site map details needed – a greatly altered map was produced at the last minute

– Latest mitigation and technology for lead pollution

– Track – is it a “track” or is it a “course” (zoning setback issue)

– Is it a “gun club” (similar use)

– Need copy of NRA Source Manual referenced in Minn. Stat. 87A


Saladin – this one goes up to 45MPH! Says so right HERE!


The Ferret goes up to 60MPH! Says so right HERE!

Hot off the press from the DNR:

CO Joe Frear (Waseca) checked fishermen, ATV activity and burning. He spoke at FAS classes in Waseca and Montgomery, presenting one instructor at Waseca with his 20-year award. He also assisted the district in moving boats out of storage and prepared them for use. He also followed up on a wetlands complaints dealing with a person who wants to put in a firearms range and a racetrack for military tanks in a Type 2 wetland. Lastly, he dealt with complaints of dead snow and blue geese being dumped in county ditches.

From the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

For the guy who has everything … rent a tank

Waseca County family wants to put you behind the wheel of a heavily armored vehicle

Pioneer Press
TwinCities.com-Pioneer Press
Article Last Updated:04/03/2007 11:06:47 PM CDT

In a county filled with heavy farm equipment, how does one blow away their neighbors with the heft of their ride? Or impress a dinner date, perhaps?

Answer: Buy a tank with a 105 mm barrel.

Or to be more specific, a British FV433 Abbot “self-propelled gun,” complete with armor, treads and a defunct gun.

The Borglum family, of Waseca County, Minn., hopes to get into the tank-driving business – starting with an obstacle course for the curious – where bored city slickers and country folk can tear up and down hills and (hopefully) between trees.

They’ve already imported four British-built vehicles to play with: the Abbot and three armored personnel carriers, including a wheeled Ferret, a Saladin and a FV432. And they’ve ordered three more.

Thrill seekers, they say, could spin a few treads for the same price as a bungee jump – exactly how much, they’re not certain, but hopefully in the neighborhood of $100.

“We’ve been in the construction business so long, we’re not really familiar with the marketing of this kind of thing,” said Marie Borglum, who co-founded Marie’s Excavating (now Marie’s Concrete Recycling) with her husband, Richard, in 1988 on their property off Minnesota 13.

The family’s plans for the property, which have yet to be approved by local zoning officials, have attracted attention – good and bad.

“To be honest, I’ve had a lot of e-mails,” said Marie Borglum, starting with the good. “You’d be surprised how many women say, ‘Hey, I don’t know what to get my husband.’ “

She’s also received e-mails from nonprofit organizations similar to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, for instance. “Somebody never drove a tank, that sort of thing.”

The family also hopes to market what she calls a “dream date.”

“Your wife could say, ‘Hey, let’s get something to eat,’ and we’d pick you up in an armored personnel carrier. The driver would dress up like in a tux,” Marie Borglum said. “Instead of limousine, it’s a tank.”

And bumps in the road aren’t a problem, said son Tony Borglum, who traveled with his father to Northamptonshire, England, in September to scout and buy the vehicles.

“The track vehicles definitely ride the smoothest,” he said.

The family’s investment was considerable. Total transit cost, including getting the vehicles past U.S. customs, the Agriculture Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, was about $10,000 for each vehicle, Borglum estimated. That’s on top of the roughly $20,000 sticker price for each vehicle.

But some in the rural town of 10,000 have their reservations about the enterprise – particularly in view of the fact the family hopes to tack on an indoor-and-outdoor shooting range and a retail space to sell small arms on the 30-acre property. They’ve applied for a conditional-use permit for the entire affair, which will be reviewed Thursday by the Waseca County Planning and Zoning Commission.

“There is a lot of concern about it. We’re just finding out what it’s all about, and we’ve got a lot of questions,” said John Schiefelbein, who lives about two miles from the rural property. “The concern, of course, is shells going wild,” he added. However, none of the guns in any of the units can fire projectiles.

As for just driving the unarmed vehicles, however, “That isn’t that offensive,” Schiefelbein said. “The only thing is, I don’t see who gets their jollies out of driving military vehicles.

“I guess it’s OK – but the Army’ll pay you to drive ’em free. In a small rural area, we don’t need this kind of crap.”

Gladys Carlson lives about 1½ miles from the Borglums. And she’s much rankled by the prospect of tanks.

“I just don’t see a place for it,” Carlson said. “I think this is kind of disrespectful. Our soldiers, this is what they’re driving in and riding in. I just feel it’s totally out of place.”

And what if it catches on, Carlson wondered?

“We’ve already got our all-terrain vehicles going down the road banks, the ditches, and this might be the next thing,” she said. “I don’t know why the government would even allow that.”

But Borglum believes he can win residents over, if they’d just come to him and talk about the tanks. As for the firing ranges, he points out there are at least two in the county already.

Richard Roessler, Blooming Grove township supervisor, said the whole thing is out of his hands.

“We, as a board, are not going to take a position on it because it is outside our jurisdiction,” Roessler said.

“I’m really gun-shy to talk about it,” he added.

Tad Vezner can be reached at tvezner@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5461.

Tony Borglum stands in the driver’s port of his British-made FV433 Abbot self-propelled gun. The tank is one of the Borglum family’s collection of military vehicles. None of the guns in any of the units can fire projectile.

2 Responses to “Waseca Co. Planning Commission – machine guns, tanks, oh my!”

  1. Julie V Yap Says:

    I’ll be first in line to drive a tank when my son gets home from the Army and can come with me. I told him about it in a letter, and he’s looking forward to being able to do this with me and share some of his military experiences. I don’t think it’s at all disrespectful of our soldiers!

  2. Dee Taylor Says:

    I have a veterans group of 55 members plus spouses and children (total of about 80) who want to plan our next reunion in Waseca. We are excited about the possibility of coming out to the tank course and taking advantage of what the Borglums offer. We will also be spending a lot of money in town and at hotels. It’s a wonderful attraction for young and old alike. Yes, this news has reached all the way to the West Coast! Other Veteran groups in the area, both American and British, are getting the word too and are anxious to see the project come to fruition!

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