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Boreal Community Media

Cook County/Grand Marais Joint Economic Development Authority (EDA) and Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Explore Possible Merger

Jan 23, 2023 12:31PM ● By Editor
January 23, 2023

The EDA and HRA have recently begun discussions about a possible merger of the two organizations.

The EDA was created by MN Statute in 1988.  The language of the Statute allows for the EDA to have HRA authorities.  The HRA was created by the Cook County Board in 2021.  There are several examples of joint EDA/HRA organizations across the state.

The EDA board met on Tuesday, January 17 and the HRA board met on Wednesday, January 18:  both boards approved exploring the concept of a merger and sharing expenses for legal counsel to begin due diligence in the process.

This exploration and decision are the responsibility of the EDA and HRA boards.  Steve Surbaugh, EDA board president, and Mary Somnis, HRA board chair are leading the process.

Surbaugh and Somnis have issued this statement:  

“The discussion to investigate a combined EDA/HRA was instigated by several residents separately proposing this merger as well as by the natural opportunity created by the transition within the EDA.  The Executive Director recently resigned while the EDA Board-composition has changed significantly over the past few months.  

The EDA and HRA Boards have agreed to explore this opportunity together, but no decision has been made about a merger. This may or may not be the best way forward for our community long-term; we are conducting thoughtful discussions and exploration in full transparency to make a public and informed decision.

If the EDA and HRA boards jointly recommend moving forward with a merger, we will present the proposal before the County Board and Grand Marais City Council in public meetings.”  

The EDA and HRA boards will meet on Thursday, February 2, 3:00 - 4:30 PM, at Grand Marais City Council Chambers.  This meeting is open to the public.  The intent of this meeting is for the two boards to have their first conversation together about this subject and, if possible, determine a path forward.


For information contact:
Mary Somnis, HRA board chair, [email protected]