Two Harbors City Council roundup
By: Tammy Francois, Lake County News Chronicle
Out with the old, in with the new at Viking Legends Building
Viking Legends closed Aug. 13 and owner of the building, Bill Wilson, has a party interested in leasing the space. However, there is an outstanding bill for utilities owed to the city of Two Harbors by the building’s former tenant, Mark Pearson. According to a city ordinance, a new liquor license cannot be issued for a property until monies owed to the city are paid. Rick Boo, owner and operator of Carmody’s Pub in Duluth, wants to rent the space but won’t sign a lease until he’s sure he can get a liquor license.
The delinquent utility bill was estimated to be $4000, plus charges accrued in Viking Legends’ last month in operation—possibly an additional $2000. The city is eager to encourage new business, but withholding the liquor license is currently its only assurance that the utilities bill will be paid. The city will continue to pursue payment from Pearson. As for the new tenant, it will negotiate an agreement with Boo if he will consent to accepting some liability for the debt only if his operation goes out of business before the end of its lease agreement and the old utility bills are still delinquent. The city’s attorney will work on the specific language and terms of the agreement. The liquor license will be issued once all parties agree to the new agreement.
Boo is hopeful that the liquor license will be in place by Oct. 1. He told the council that he plans to offer former Viking Legends employees their old jobs and hire additional local residents as needed. Boo plans to enter into a 5-year lease with Wilson with options to renew.
The heliport needs help
The heliport used by helicopters transporting patients in and out of the area is currently authorized for day use only. Improvements must be made before it can be approved for night flights. Councilor Detlefson estimated the cost of the improvements to be in the $25-50,000 range and questioned why the heliport couldn’t be moved to the airport. Councilor Norberg asserted that the upgrades are the responsibility of the hospital and local emergency medical services. City administrator Klein suggested that the city get a firmer idea of the cost of improvements and convene a meeting with the hospital and EMS to discuss the matter.
A humane gesture
An agreement will be finalized by the city to turn over moneys collected from the sale of pet licenses to the humane society. The city budget will not suffer as a result and the money will provide needed funds for the non-profit organization.
Silver Creek sewer project
Silver Creek is installing a sewer system and one option they're considering is sending water and waste to Two Harbors. Silver Creek would pay for the service and this could generate revenues for Two Harbors. At a meeting with Municipal Services of America, it was suggested that if this agreement were made the city should consider requiring Silver Creek to install a holding system. A large tank would retain sewage during storms that could tax the capacity of the Two Harbors sewer system. No final decisions have been made. The News-Chronicle will follow this project as it develops.
IRRRB grant for new hangar at the airport
The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board may be interested in granting funding for a new hangar at the Two Harbors Airport. A grant must be written and submitted by October. The total cost of the hangar will be about $800,000. Funding from Minnesota Department of Transportation Aeronautics and Aviation will cover half of the cost and it is hoped that an IRRRB grant will cover about $300,000, although the amount of the grant is uncertain. The balance would have to come from other sources such as city or county funding. Detlefson expressed concern about the cost of the city’s obligation. Councilor Rosati’s concerns were centered on the time line. As the budget is not complete and the amount of the city’s obligation could be significant, she suggested that the application for an IRRB grant be postponed.
A new, larger hangar would allow a local business to perform maintenance and repairs on larger planes and provide overnight accommodations to flight crews awaiting completion of work on their aircraft. Councilor McDonald would like to move forward on the grant application to ensure that the construction of the larger hangar will proceed as soon as possible.
Public Works Department to provide services for Oktoberfest in Two Harbors
The Pub and the American Legion will be hosting Oktoberfest on Saturday, Sept. 8. They have requested that the city’s public works department donate in-kind services for the event. Services would include moving garbage cans and picnic tables, closing streets, providing a source of electricity and cleaning up after the event. Oktoberfest in Two Harbors will be the same weekend classic car enthusiasts will be in the area for a show and camp out.