News Tribune covers proposed Sawtooth Bluff Park plan.
Apr 23, 2018 08:59AM ● Published by Editor
By Adelle Whitefoot of the Duluth News Tribune on April 22, 2018
Cook County and the city of Grand Marais are teaming up to create a regional park just north of the city.
The proposed Sawtooth Bluff Regional Park would be built on 640 acres already owned by the county and city. There is also potential to acquire two additional parcels in the future, a 78-acres parcel to the west, and a 21-acre parcel to the east.
In Cook County, approximately 92 percent of the land is currently under the control of the state of Minnesota and the U.S. Forest Service; putting land under local control provides opportunity for community and regional enhancements, according to the proposed park's master plan.
"The city is always looking to improve the quality of life for the people who live here. So that is a primary driver for it," said Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith-DeCoux. "We do believe that this is something that can add to the quality of life for people who live here."
Sawtooth Bluff, which served as a ski hill in the 1950s and 1960s, has sat unused for quite some time. According to Arrowsmith-DeCoux, a study was done about 20 years ago by the city and stakeholders in the community to discuss the property's potential uses. The report brought forward a number of suggestions.
"(Housing) turned out not to be a good use because the development costs in that area would be so high due to its terrain. Then there was discussion about doing a vocational school back there that never came to fruition and would be very difficult to do because of the population density up here," Arrowsmith-DeCoux said. "So the primary result that came out of that study was to maintain it as a recreation hub for the community."
Arrowsmith-DeCoux said he supports the proposed project because of Grand Marais' legacy of recreational resources close to the city.
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