Launch of shiny, new Agate Bay boating landing celebratedThe Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the City of Two Harbors celebrated the grand opening of the renovated Agate Bay public water access June 1.
By: Amber Ooley, Lake County News-Chronicle
The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the City of Two Harbors celebrated the grand opening of the renovated Agate Bay public water access June 1.
“This is a great event, to be able to celebrate a re-building of these facilities to provide great access for the public to the outdoors,” said Stan Linnell, the development manager for the DNR’s Parks and Trails division.
New features of the public access include a redesigned parking lot, a crib dock, a kayak ramp and dock, a storm water treatment system, and updated restrooms.
The docks are now longer, deeper, and wider to provide greater access, including hand rails.
“This project is really about the power of partnership in connecting people to the outdoors,” said DNR assistant commissioner Erika Rivers.
Rivers said the public access site is nearly 100-percent compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act. It will bring access to those who are sometimes unable to enjoy our natural resources, she said.
The crib dock was built with rocks along one of the sides and underneath the dock to fluctuate with the changing water levels of Lake Superior.
“It helps provide protection from waves that get beyond the dock, or commercial break water,” Linnell said. “This will make for safer boating.”
A Two Harbors committee partnered with the county, city, chamber of commerce, and the lake County Historical Society to shape the plan.
Linnell said the planning process took about a year before the concepts and design were finalized. The public water access was shut down for the entire summer last year to complete the renovations.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are at a pivotal point in our community’s history,” Mayor Randy Bolen said. “A point where we have the opportunity to turn the City of Two Harbors into the Port of Two Harbors.”
The nearly $2 million project was funded by the state of Minnesota and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Boat Access Program for Acquisition and Development.
Minnesota Sen. Senator Tom Bakk said he is thankful for the opportunity to be a part of this project and sees great potential for economic growth surrounding the access.
“The neat thing about northeastern Minnesota is that almost everyone in the state has an affinity for where you live – Two Harbors,” Bakk said.
The reconstruction of the public access is just one of the two phases proposed for Agate Bay. The second phase is marina adjacent to the access.
Bolen said the creation of a safe harbor and marina has been a vision of city leaders for decades. The harbor can be what stimulates the city to become more self-reliant and bring more economic gains, he said.
For now, Bolen will take in the new launch area while working on the marina project, which is still years away from completion.
“We now have a beautiful area for residents and visitors to enjoy,” Bolen said.