City agrees to work with zip line developer
Matt Geretschlaeger, whose proposal last month to build a zip
line adjacent to a residential area at the city’s west entrance met
with citizen and council opposition, told the council on April 11 that
he had come up with a more suitable location. He said that location—a
parcel on the Gunflint Trail adjacent to and east of the city water
tower—is better because of its topography, proximity to town, minimal
area of current development and zoning.
The Council expressed its willingness to work with Geretschlaeger on
the Gunflint Trail site and voted to order an appraisal of the 20
acres (the cost of which would be billed to the developer) to come up
with a fair market value, and then negotiate for sale or lease of the
property giving Geretschlaeger the right of first refusal.
Geretschlaeger said he would be open to either option (lease or
purchase), but he preferred to purchase the land and is willing to pay
whatever the fair market price is determined to be.
City Attorney Chris Hood advised that the sale of the property would
be more of a “straightforward transaction,” and cautioned that a lease
may involve the city in any number of liability issues.
The Grand Marais City Council put the plans for a new zip line on the
fast track with unanimous approval to appraise and negotiate the sale
of 20 acres of city-owned land off the Gunflint Trail for development
of the $750,000 enterprise.
According to information presented by Geretschlaeger, the “Sawtooth
Mountain Indurance Course” will be built by Geronimo Construction of
Biwabik and include a 2,500-square-foot lodge on an additional acre, a
1,000-foot driveway, two access trails, one launch deck platform and
two 35-foot towers.
The plans say the deck will be visible from town as it is located in a
natural clearing, but the towers will not. The lodge building will be
visible from the Gunflint Trail. The course will not be illuminated.
Geretschlaeger said the operation will create 23 new jobs and be open
about 100 days per year.