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Late opening likely for Burlington Bay Campground expansion

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The Burlington Bay Campground addition seems unlikely to open in May as planned. The contractor, Northland Constructors, left a number of tasks unfinished at the end of the season, including reseeding the site’s proposed grassy areas, addressing water run-off issues and resurfacing the asphalt in the parking lot. The Two Harbors City Council has expressed frustration over Northland’s failure to address these issues and has explored the possibility of withholding payment on the project or otherwise recouping the loss of revenue caused by the delays.

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Engineer Curt Wimpee of SEH, the firm overseeing the work, has been in contact with Northland to address the City’s concerns, he appeared before the council at its 5 p.m. finance meeting last week to provide an update.

“It’s been a tough finish to the project;” he conceded, “the project did drag on and on to the point that we just couldn’t get some things done in the fall.” Wimpee proposed that the city approve a pay order for $457,405 for the work Northland has done, but withhold $141,000 in liquidation damages—a penalty to cover the City’s loss of revenue at the campground. According to Wimpee, Northland disputes the amount of liquidated damages and wants to meet with the City to negotiate a lesser total.

“What happens if we don’t pay the $457,000 based on the fact that they didn’t do the work?” asked councilor Jerry Norberg.

“I think you have to pay it,” countered Wimpee. City attorney Steve Overom concurred, “I think that it’ll put the City in a better spot to negotiate if the pay request is approved,” Overom said.

An additional $25,000 will be held as a retainer to cover the cost of reseeding the campground, an amount that Wimpee figured would be sufficient to do the job. A date for the proposed meeting between the City and Northland has not been finalized, said Wimpee on Tuesday.

At the council’s 7 p.m. meeting, Mayor Randy Bolen said that community members have been skating on the pond near the Burlington Bay Campground addition. He introduced a motion to ask Public Works to look into the pond’s safety for this purpose. He also asked that the City of Two Harbors add an additional $2000 to the Winter Frolic fund. He said that the Frolic committee had been working hard to plan the event and was making progress. Both motions were passed by the council.

Councilor Cathy Erickson said that the request for proposal for the operation of Lake View National Golf Course was ready to pass on to the city administrator and city attorney for review. No action was necessary by the council.

The council completed its business in less than 15 minutes with all councilors present except Roger Simonson.

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