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Dozens Attend Meeting at Colvill Town Hall to Give Input to Cook County CIP

On Saturday morning, December 16, almost 50 people were in the Colvill Town Hall to dis­cuss the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) under­way for Cook County and prioritize what improvement projects to complete in the Hovland and Colvill town halls.

District 1 Cook County Commissioner Deb White and District 5 Commissioner Ginnie Storlie were in attendance to answer questions. The meeting was moderated by Colvill resident Arvis Thompson, who has managed the Colvill town hall for years as a community volunteer.

In the summer of 2022, the county commis­sion began assessing the maintenance and ex­pansion needs of county properties, creating a Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). On a 5-0 vote, the commissioners approved a six-figure con­tract for the architectural firm CR-BPS-Building Performance Specialists to inspect current prop­erties and plans for additional space needed.

Commissioner White said this was a for­ward-looking inspection completed to the board’s satisfaction. The plans for upgrading the two town halls were extensive and based on ex­pected population changes in the areas, bringing in people who desire a higher standard of pub­lic building than the current, decades-old struc­tures.

The county hosted six public open houses in December 2022 and February of this year to up­date taxpayers on progress.

The commissioners took some flack from the Colvill meeting participants over the CIP and a perceived lack of transparency on the part of the county. However, when focusing on the proposed list of maintenance and upgrades, the group came together to provide a list of the top four issues for each facility.

Retired building contractor Steve Sande spoke about how CR-BPS’s inspections on the two buildings should be viewed like ones a con­tractor would do when brought into a home and asked for an estimate to update the house, from roof to foundation. The contractor then presents a proposal to accomplish all that, but immediately begins to focus on homeowner priori­ties–what to do first, etc.

On Saturday, the group listed four priorities for each facility.

Colvill–Safety railings on front steps; Repair/ replace the roof; Paint exterior siding and trim; and upgrade the Furnace.

Hovland–Repair entry stairs, Stabilize the foundation, upgrade the furnace, and Drill a well.

The county is currently seeking a project manager to handle all of the projects within the CIP. Commissioner White will ensure that the community priorities outlined at this meeting will be shared with the appropriate project managers.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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