The following content was contributed by Cook County News Herald
The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) appeared before the county board on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, asking the board to schedule a public hearing on the EDA’s proposal to have the county issue tax abatement bonds for $2 million to fund continued improvements at Superior National at Lutsen (SNL) golf course. The hearing was scheduled for September 23 at 10 a.m. in the commissioners room.
Howard Hedstrom, who was appointed to the EDA board in January, said, “I’m new to the EDA, but the EDA is not new to the golf course business.”
Hedstrom shared what he had learned in his brief tenure, that the EDA had created a plan for development of SNL with Golf Course Architect Jeff Brauer of Golfscapes. He said phase 1 of the improvements would be done in September 2014 and phase 2 is expected to be completed by mid-September 2015. Hedstrom said the EDA has been handling all the “mundane details” of the construction project.
Hedstrom said the EDA was surprised when it learned from its bonding firm Ehlers & Associates that it was going to be very expensive to seek traditional general obligation bonds. “We found out that if we go out for tax abatement bonds, we’d save $1.4 million over the term of the contract.”
Hedstrom asked the county board, “Why wouldn’t you want to save $1.4 million? It makes the chance for success for the project that much better.”
Commissioner Sue Hakes asked EDA Treasurer Scott Harrison to speak about the agreement on golf course management with the Lutsen Tofte Tourism Association. Harrison came forward to explain that under the agreement, LTTA will have what equals a year of golf course bond payments taken from its lodging tax collections and held in reserve. The reserve fund of lodging taxes will be used if net revenues of the golf course are not sufficient to pay the bond payment. Harrison noted that with the agreement the LTTA had made a commitment to accept a $2.8 million risk—to pay $140,000 per year for 20 years if necessary.
Commissioner Heidi Doo-Kirk, who sits on the EDA board, said, “With the declining appearance of the golf course, the golf course had made their $180,000 bond payment annually and we’re $40,000 less—and we’re going to have an improved golf course. We’re going in the right direction.”
Commissioner Garry Gamble noted that the county’s primary concern is seeing that the taxpayer is protected.
Harrison pointed out that an additional condition of the agreement with LTTA is a commitment from the tourism entity to pay $50,000 toward marketing Superior National each year.
The board agreed to schedule a public hearing in the commissioners’ room on Tuesday, September 23 at 10 a.m.
The $6 million golf course renovation project has received a $3.1 million from the county’s 1 percent local option sales tax and $600,000 from the Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB).
This local news is provided by the Cook County News-Herald
Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux, owner and proprietor of the Art House B&B in Grand Marais, sees an interesting mix of people in the course of his day. A recent visitor was Kelly Asche of the University of Minnesota-Morris Center for Small Towns. A relaxed discussion over coffee at the B&B led to an interesting upcoming event. On Tuesday, September 23 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. at North House Folk School, Asche will give a presentation on rural demographic and economic trends for small towns, looking at Grand Marais in particular.
Arrowsmith DeCoux said Asche would share data on towns with similar economies, such as Ely as well as communities with dissimilar economic environments. “The goal is to learn more about where we’re headed,” said Arrowsmith DeCoux.
The presentation will not necessarily provide answers for the problems facing small towns. However, Arrowsmith DeCoux said an important part of the presentation was the Q&A session at the end. “It will be interesting to see the data he has to share, but also some narratives about what other communities have done,” he said.
There is no charge for the presentation, which will be held in the blue building at North House Folk School. Light refreshments will be served.
Come out and groove with the North Shore's dynamite new musical supergroup—Briand Morrison's Blues Galaxy at a CD release concert on September 20 at 7:30 p.m. at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts.
Guitarist and composer Briand Morrison of Grand Portage, through funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board and in partnership with the North Shore Music Association, composed twelve original jazz, rock, and blues works for guitar, backing instruments, and vocals. Having recorded and produced a full-length album, Morrison will perform this new material onstage with a wide array of the North Shore's finest musicians.
Morrison composes and performs solo jazz guitar extensively. He also composes and performs in a style he calls, "reminiscent of a Hendrixy, Stevie Ray, Allman Bros, Early Clapton sound—a refined 60/70s style."
Tickets $10 adults, $5 youth (18 & under) For sale in advance (no fees) at http://arrowheadcenterforthearts.tix.com or at door (box office opens 6:30 p.m.). For more information about this and other NSMA events, go to www.northshoremusicassociation.com
The following content was contributed by WTIP North Shore Community Radio
The Cook County Sheriff's office states in the last three weeks there has been an influx of property damage reports in the Grand Marais area. There have been nine separate incidents, reporting the following damages:
--Graffiti at the water tower, skateboard park, and school baseball field
--Vandalized equipment at the Recreation Park
--Broken windows at the Community Center and High School
--Broken vehicle windows in town.
The method of breaking windows has usually been thrown rocks. The graffiti has been profanities, and “mmm… Sulfide” along with a picture of a fish.
If you have any knowledge about who may be committing these acts, please contact the Sheriff’s Office at 387-3030.
There will be a CD release concert for Briand Morrison's Blues Galaxy at the Arrowhead Center for the Arts on September 20. North Shore Morning host Jana Berka spoke with Kate Fitzgerald of the North Shore Music Association about this concert.
Briand Morrison’s Blues Galaxy CD Release Concert
Arrowhead Center for the Arts
September 20, 2014 at 7:30 PM
For more information: