April 11 hearing set to consider annexation and rezoning for zip line

Grand Marais city councilors have set April 11 as the day on which a public hearing will be held to consider an annexation request which, if approved, may pave the way for a very interesting project – the construction of a zip line near the city’s west entrance.
The site in question is a 5-acre parcel at 1800 W. Highway 61 (near the Grand Marais Inn, formerly Tomteboda) which is currently zoned R-1. To accommodate the zip line, the owners are asking that the zone district be changed to R/C (Recreation-Commercial). And because the parcel lies outside of the city limits, it would have to be annexed in order for the city to change the zoning.
City Administrator Mike Roth explained at council’s Feb. 29 meeting that a public hearing regarding the annexation has to be held after all adjacent owners and the county have been given 30 days notice. Council then has to vote approval of the proposed annexation and notify the state, which must grant final approval.
It was decided that council’s April 11 meeting was the soonest the public hearing could be scheduled without holding a special meeting.
Upon completion of the annexation and rezoning, HRH Highway 61 and Matt Geretschlaeger are proposing to construct two 1,000-foot-long side-by-side zip lines, which will start from a six-story launch tower and have a 15-story descent.
It is hoped the enterprise, which is touted as the first high-speed zip line in Minnesota, will be up and running this summer. The design and construction of the project on the currently vacant lot will be done by Geronimo Construction of Biwabik.
According to the application submitted by Geretschlaeger, the project will require a minimum of 16 new employees, which may expand to 24 as the market develops.