Skip to main content

Boreal Community Media

Duluth Lake Walk, Silver Bay Trailhead Center among Governor Walz Bonding Bill Recommendations

Jan 16, 2020 06:53AM ● By Editor

Watch a WDIO-TV on Governor Walz bonding proposals here

From WDIO-TV - January 16, 2020


Governor Tim Walz is backing millions of dollars for Duluth’s Lakewalk and other northeastern Minnesota projects.

Walz is proposing to spend more than $2 billion on public works projects around the state.  He’s been gradually releasing the proposal over the past week, and released details of his proposed spending on public safety and road projects on Wednesday.

The funding would include $13.5 million for Duluth coastal infrastructure rehabilitation after a series of storms in recent years battered the Lakewalk and shoreline areas.  The city has completed some repair work, and this new grant would fund the final phase of repairs.

A series of storms has battered the Duluth Lakewalk and shoreline in recent years

A series of storms has battered the Duluth Lakewalk and shoreline in recent years.  Photo: WDIO-TV file


"I was so pleased that Gov. Walz and his team have chosen to include Duluth in their bonding proposals," Mayor Emily Larson told WDIO News. "The projects are really important because of course everything hinges on our shoreline maintaining stability. So once our shoreline starts going, there goes our Lakewalk... there is potentially a domino effect of what can happen and when you get to a place like Brighton Beach, ensuring that it is steady and fortified means that Highway 61 isn't impacted." The federal government is also helping Duluth rebuild following the number of storms. 

Among many other projects, the governor is also proposing $5.488 million for the IRA Civic Center in Grand Rapids, $1.02 million for public buildings in Eveleth, $6 million for a multi-use government center in Proctor, and $10.39 million for a regional fire and public safety facility in Virginia. (See below for a complete list of regional projects.)

Walz announced the public safety projects at the state's cramped Emergency Operations Center, which would get a $29.5 million replacement under his plan.  He said it's important for first responders and the National Guard to have proper infrastructure.

"These facilities are the places we give the skills to our warriors before we send them into situations. Whether they'd be domestic and be responding to natural disasters or as we send them overseas which we have right now. When these facilities are lacking and they have to ad-lib they're training is reduced and their readiness is reduced," Walz said.

These are only proposals at this point.  The Democrats who lead the Minnesota House and the Republicans who lead the state Senate will come out with their own lists of projects.

KSTP-TV reports that Republican Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka said Monday that he'd prefer to see a package under $1 billion, while Democratic House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler has floated a number as high as $3.5 billion.


Gov. Tim Walz's office provided the following summaries of Northland projects included in his bonding plan.  A complete list of all projects statewide is available at mn.gov/governor/buildonemn/

Arrowhead Regional Corrections: Vocational Programming Improvements
The Governor recommends $3.35 million for a grant to Arrowhead Regional Corrections to revitalize and enhance the buildings that support vocational and educational programming at the Northeast Regional Corrections Center (NERCC). The total project cost is $21.456 million.

Duluth: Coastal Infrastructure Rehabilitation
The Governor recommends $13.5 million for a grant to the City of Duluth to fund the final phase of the rehabilitation of Duluth’s storm-damaged coastal infrastructure. This project will allow infrastructure to better withstand extreme storm events. The total project cost is $20 million.

Duluth Dump Superfund
The Governor recommends $7.7 million for cleanup of the City of Duluth Dump Superfund site as part of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA) program to address legacy contaminants. It implements a long-term remedy for both the waste and methane impacts at the site by excavating and consolidating waste to protect the environment and human health.

Ely: Regional Trailhead Construction
The Governor recommends $2.8 million for a grant to the City of Ely to fund a regional trailhead complex and visitors center serving the David Dill?Taconite Snowmobile Trail, the Mesabi Trail, and the Prospector’s Loop ATV Trail. The total project cost is $4.1 million.

Esko Groundwater Contamination Superfund Site
The Governor recommends $1.2 million for cleanup of groundwater contamination at the Esko superfund site as part of MPCA’s program to address legacy contaminants. This will fund predesign, design, the excavation of contaminated soil, and the treatment of contaminated groundwater.

Eveleth: Public Buildings Improvements
The Governor recommends $1.02 million for a grant to the City of Eveleth for ventilation and heating improvements, restroom updates, exterior tuckpointing, and roof repairs at the city's five landmark buildings. The total project cost is $2.04 million.

Giant's Ridge Water Line Replacement (IRRRB)
The Governor recommends $8.646 million to upgrade, construct, and support a new infrastructure system for the snow making process at Giants Ridge. The current piping at Giants Ridge is 30-years-old – beyond its expected useful life. Failure of the lines due to the system's age would have a negative impact on Giants Ridge and the communities in the Iron Range that depend on the tourism economy from ski visitors. The project will increase efficiency, restore failing underground infrastructure, and enhance safety on the hill during snow making operations.

Grand Rapids: Itasca Recreation Association Civic Center
The Governor recommends $5.488 million for a grant to the City of Grand Rapids for asset preservation projects, such as roof replacement and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance, at the Itasca Recreation Association (IRA) Civic Center. The total project cost is $10.977 million.

Hibbing: Mine View “Windows to the World”
The Governor recommends $1.5 million for a grant to the City of Hibbing to build a viewing area at the Hull Rust taconite mine. The new mine viewing area, called "Windows to the World", will include walking trails, interpretive signage, multiple viewing points, and a park where families can roam among the mining artifacts. The total project cost is $3 million.

Lake Superior College: Integrated Manufacturing Workforce Labs
The Governor recommends $985,000 for design of a new integrated manufacturing workforce lab. The Lake Superior campus currently rents space for this program. When completed, this project would reduce deferred maintenance by $2.5 million.

Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park
The Governor recommends $5.8 million to develop campgrounds at Lake Vermilion Soudan Underground Mine State Park.

Pine County: Oberstar Trail Segment
The Governor recommends $650,000 for a grant to Pine County to complete a 1.9-mile paved trail to close the 22-mile trail gap between the North Branch Sunrise Prairie Trail and the Hinckley Munger Trail. The completion of this gap will provide a trail connection from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports, making this trail regionally significant. The total project cost is $1.25 million.

Pine Technical and Community College: Technical and Trades Labs
The Governor recommends $635,000 to design the renovation and construction of the technical and trades labs, classrooms, faculty space, health sciences spaces, and student support space at Pine Technical and Community College (PTCC). The completed project would reduce deferred maintenance by $276,000.

Proctor: Multi-Use Government Center
The Governor recommends $6 million for a grant to the City of Proctor for a new governmental center. The current facility, which is too small to allow for necessary expansion, is located in a flood plain, adjacent to a trout stream, and is experiencing many structural deficiencies. The total project cost is $12 million.

St. Louis County: Clarity Behavioral Health Crisis Facility
The Governor recommends $1.365 million for a grant to St. Louis County to build a regional crisis center in Duluth that will connect people to mental health services. The total project cost is $5 million.

St. Louis County: Fairground Buildings
The Governor recommends $400,000 for a grant to St. Louis County to fund construction costs for two buildings at the St. Louis County Fairgrounds in Chisholm. The project will enable educational opportunities for visitors through animal exhibits. The total project cost is $800,000.

St. Louis County: Voyageur Country ATV Trail System Expansion
The Governor recommends $1 million for a grant to St. Louis County to expand the multi-use Voyageur Country ATV Trail System to connect existing and planned trails and communities in northeastern Minnesota. The total project cost is $2 million.

Silver Bay: Multimodal Trailhead Center
The Governor recommends $1.9 million for a grant to the City of Silver Bay for a Multimodal Trailhead Center. Funding would be used to provide parking, accessible non?motorized and motorized trails, a multi-use building with lavatories and showers, picnic areas, and a playground. The total project cost is $3.8 million.

UMD A.B. Anderson Hall Capital Renewal
The Governor recommends $4.4 million to renovate and restore 36,670 square feet and add 830 square feet in A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus. This building houses classrooms serving nearly 500 majors annually, as well as fine arts studios, workspaces, and academic offices. This project will upgrade the mechanical systems, life safety equipment, fire protection, and architectural finishes. This will remove approximately $4 million in deferred maintenance.

Vermilion Community College: Classroom Building
The Governor recommends $2.576 million to design and renovate six general purpose classrooms within the Classroom Building and the College Center. The project creates flexible adaptive learning environments; increases technological capabilities; renovates two sets of restrooms, adjacent corridors and lobby areas; creates a new entryway; and replaces the Classroom Building roof. This project will eliminate $1.3 million in deferred maintenance.

Virginia: Regional Fire-Based Emergency Medical Services and Public Safety Facility
The Governor recommends $10.39 million for a grant to the City of Virginia to build a Regional Fire-Based Emergency Medical Services and Public Safety Facility, which will co-locate the fire and police departments. The total project cost is $25.69 million.

Willow River: Dept. of Corrections Communications Equipment
The Governor recommends $1.877 million for new radio equipment, including antenna and transmitters, at the Willow River facility to provide more reliable communications and improve public safety. That site is used for the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), a bootcamp program serving eligible non-violent offenders.


To read the original story and see related reporting, follow this link to the WDIO-TV website.  https://www.wdio.com/politics/governor-walz-bonding-bill-duluth-lakewalk/5610978/

Upcoming Events Near You
Boreal Ship Spotter - larger view here