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City of Silver Bay to Receive $21 Million in Grant Funds

The State legislature wrapped up its session this week in St. Paul and thanks to the efforts of Sena­tor Grant Hauschild, Representa­tive Roger Skraba and others, the city of Silver Bay will be receiving around $21 million in grant fund­ing. These funds will help finance city improvement projects includ­ing the city wide street project, the East Lakeview Drive / Black Beach projects, as well as utility improve­ment work and other projects that are planned for the city.

Mayor Wade LeBlanc took a few minutes at Monday night’s meeting to speak about the work that has helped secure these needed funds for the city. He recognized the fact that some residents have felt that progress on city improvements is moving too slowly, particularly re­garding the condition of city streets and he acknowledged that street improvement is a priority for the city. “We hear people. Bear with us and we’ll get it done. A lot of work has gone on behind the scenes and when we do drive on a new street, hopefully people will appreciate it.” Both LeBlanc and City Admin­istrator Lana Fralich have made a number of trips to the Twin Cities to talk with legislators about plans to address the city’s infrastructure needs. The grant funding that has been awarded to the city gives tes­timony to those efforts.

Bolton and Menk will be working with city officials to conduct a lead service line inventory of residents’ homes. Silver Bay home owners will be receiving a postcard in the mail asking them to take a pho­tograph of where their water ser­vice line enters their home. Addi­tionally, each homeowner will be asked to fill out an online form in preparation for upcoming service line replacement work. Due to the availability of federal and state funding, lead service line replace­ment is available to the resident or homeowner at no cost. Though the replacement work will be an ongo­ing project over the next few years, a prompt response by area residents to the postcard notification will help expedite the work.

In an effort to cover all households, Bolton and Menk will send repre­sentatives, with proper identifica­tion, to area homes that do not re­spond to the postcard requests or that need assistance gathering the requested information. The use of lead pipes in home construction was banned in 1985 so homes built af­ter that will not need to take part in the inventory. Further information on service line replacement can be obtained on the Minnesota Depart­ment of Health web site under Lead Service Line Replacement Program Facts.


There was discussion at Monday night’s meeting about adjustments that need to be made to the Boat­house Bay development. Like all projects, Boathouse Bay has strug­gled with rising costs in labor and materials. In spite of efforts by Da­vid Drown and the developer John Anderson to come up with a viable funding package, the rising costs have created a funding gap. In or­der to continue moving the project forward, Drown and Johnson put forth a proposal to move $350,000, earmarked for erosion control and pond construction work, out of a contract proposal with Northland Construction. Johnson is licensed and experienced in erosion con­trol and can use his own resourc­es to do that work. Northland has agreed to this and Drown and John­son have talked with Lake County about these alterations and believe the county will support this shift in the plan. An additional change in­volves the transfer of $200,000 in Iron Range Resources and Reha­bilitation (IRRR) grant money that was originally earmarked for the city and having those funds be avail­able for private utility work. IRRR allows for funds to be shifted in this manner. Drown stated that the bank proposed that the dollar amount of the TIF bond be increased to cov­er the $200,000 shortfall for city utility work. In essence, this means that the repayment period on the TIF bond would be extended from about 8 years to possibly 10 years. Bank personnel are looking at this proposal and have yet to make a de­cision on accepting it. Drown said that the project continues to be a positive development for the city and is awaiting a green light from the bank. No action by the Coun­cil was needed as yet regarding the proposed changes.

In other news, Larry Carter is retir­ing after 22 ½ years of service to the city. Sean Bergman will be resign­ing as a full time police officer but will continue serving as a part time member of the force. The Council approved a special meeting with the Public Utilities Commission on the water treatment facility, to be held on May 30th at 1:00.

The next Silver Bay Council meet­ing will be held on June 3rd at 7:00.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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