City discusses plan of action to keep the golf course open
Jul 13, 2018 06:46AM
By Brian Larsen of the Cook County News Herald - July 13, 2018
On Wednesday, July 11, Grand Marais city councilors spent a lot of time talking about illegally parked trailers/campers in town and possible code enforcement, as well as a plan to keep the Gunflint Hills Golf Course open in light of Mike Kunshier’s decision to retire earlier than expected.
Kunshier, who had informed the council last fall that this season, his 27th as golf course superintendent at Gunflint Hills, would be his last, submitted a letter of resignation effective July 10 after he learned other managers in the city had received pay raises and he was excluded from that list. Council also learned at that meeting that over the course of his employment with the city that Mike had never received a job evaluation.
Kunshier had hoped the city would hire someone in the spring when the course was getting ready to open so he could spend the entire season training them. No one has been hired yet to fill Kunshier’s spot, but the city has interviewed several candidates and Grand Marais Mayor Jay Arrowsmith- DeCoux said at the July 11 meeting that one candidate might receive a job offer in the next few days.
Until a new superintendent has been picked, the short-term plan is to have Dave Tersteeg, the Grand Marais Parks and Recreation manager, work at the golf course. His duties at the campground as the park’s office manager and facility manager will be done by the city secretary Haden Hinchman, who worked last summer in the recreation park office.
At this time, said Arrowsmith-DeCoux, it wasn’t known if other golf course employees might leave with Kunshier, but the staff that was committed to staying told Tersteeg they wanted a manager to be on duty at all times to deal with the various issues that may come up.
Meanwhile, when questioned whether Kunshier may return in some capacity— say as a consultant— both the mayor and Tersteeg were tight-lipped, saying at this time they couldn’t make a comment. In the council’s meeting packet, however, it did say that the mayor and parks manager were continuing to talk to Kunshier about his resignation.
Illegally parked trailers
Council held a lengthy, free-wheel discussion about unlawfully parked trailers, campers and motorhomes in the town. Councilor Steckelberg said he had walked through town and in a short time counted about 30 campers/motorhomes parked in non-compliance with the city’s rules about where trailers could and could not be parked. That included campers parked in yards and on the street.
Arrowsmith- DeCoux said he recently saw one motorhome parked illegally for “two to three days” near the Co-op.
What seemed to kick this discussion off was a letter recently sent to the planning commission inquiring about the city’s role in enforcing these violations.
Councilor Tim Kennedy, who is also a member of the planning commission, said that letter led to a discussion and conclusion that, “It was not in our realm (of authority) to enforce this.”
At that point, Arrowsmith-DeCoux said there were probably hundreds of ordinance violations concerning junk in people yards, junk cars, burned down buildings etc. City Attorney Chris Hood, who was on the speakerphone, weighed in and said some of these matters involved the sheriff ’s department, but the bottom line was to get compliance, and that happens most of the time when people get letters from the city notifying them that they are in violation of a city ordinance.
If those letters don’t work, said Hood, there is always a nuisance abatement procedure where Hood sends a nasty letter calling for compliance and if that still doesn’t work, a contractor would be hired to clean up the mess with the bill going to the homeowner. But he said this included a “huge spectrum” of rules and, “You are talking about a lot of territories here.”
Councilor Anton Moody questioned why the city would initially resort to threatening anyone, adding the simple thing to do would be to first educate the public about the city’s ordinances and then send letters asking for compliance to offenders.
“We have to acknowledge this as a first step,” said Arrowsmith-DeCoux. “We will continue this conversation as necessary.”