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Boreal Community Media

North House goes public with plans to purchase Dockside Fish Market

Dec 13, 2017 09:12AM ● By Editor
North House Folk School.  Photo:  WTIP

By Joe Friedrichs of WTIP Radio News - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

During a meeting of the Cook County Economic Development Authority Tuesday, Dec. 12, North House Folk School staff made a public announcement for their intent to purchase the property currently owned by Dockside Fish Market in Grand Marais.

The announcement to the EDA came from Greg Wright, the executive director of North House Folk School. Wright attended the meeting to request a resolution from the EDA, confirming the EDA’s willingness to submit a grant to IRRRB on North House’s behalf as part of the acquisition of the property. The grant request will be for $200,000 to IRRRB, which will be a key factor in North House’s acquisition of Dockside.

During Tuesday’s meeting Wright made public that applying for the grant is the first of many steps in the potential sale of Dockside to North House.

“Last spring, Dockside Fish Market invited North House to sit down and discuss the possibility of a sale,” Wright said in a statement sent to WTIP. “Their foresight and honesty were appreciated.  We both knew there would be many topics to sort through, but the bottom line is that we are still in conversation and still glad to be working together.”

If North House obtains the property currently owned by Harley and Shele Toftey at Dockside, Wright said the idea would be to keep the fish market, restaurant and possibly a commercial fishery in operation.

Wright noted that one of the benefits of starting conversations last spring is “that we’ve been able to start right away engaging two key challenges – making sure our community fish market and fishery both have a way forward even as Harley and Shele start planning for their future.”  

North House Board Member Mike Prom said Dockside is a treasure Grand Marais and the North Shore count on for many reasons. 

“Trying to imagine our community harbor without a fish market or fisherman seems almost impossible,” Prom said. “Many businesses are connected to this important dimension of our community’s heritage, as are North House students, who place tremendous value on having Dockside nearby.”

An added benefit of keeping these local businesses active is that property taxes will continue to be paid on the portion used for the restaurant and fishing, according to Wright.

Meanwhile, securing the funding for the purchase is central to this stage of North House’s efforts and directly connects to the possibilities for moving forward.

“While we are excited by our progress to date, ultimately it is important to underscore that we are still in conversation,” Wright said. “Having the EDA’s endorsement of the project and our IRRRB grant proposal keeps us moving forward. There are still key steps ahead that Dockside and North House hope to complete successfully. Our goal is to keep the community well informed as things move forward.”

The audio below is an interview with WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs and EDA Vice President Anton Moody on the possible sale of Dockside Fish Market to North House Folk School. Follow this link to listen to the interview on the WTIP website.

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