Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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Lake County Housing Updates

Rehabilitation work at the Lakeview apartment complex in Two Harbors continues. This work includes the com­pletion of a beautiful two bed­room apartment that has just been rented to a person who will have some responsibili­ties for basic maintenance and who will communicate with the Housing and Redevelop­ment Authority (HRA) when contractors need to be called in for more involved repairs. The Executive Director of the Lake County HRA (LCHRA), Mat­thew Johnson, has been having to spend 50% of his time cov­ering these tasks at Lakeview, so having an onsite person to take on these responsibilities will allow Johnson to turn his attention to other pressing matters. An additional Lakev­iew unit, currently under con­struction on the ground floor, will be ADA (Americans With Disabilities Act) accessible and additional rehab work on oth­er apartments at Lakeview is scheduled to begin next week. The Lake County Board has earmarked $180,000.00, which will be used to bring Lakeview to full capacity in the near fu­ture.

The Lake County Department of Human Services (DHS) has generously provided $40,000 to the LCHRA to be used to ad­dress the needs of the county’s homeless population. With the impacts of the COVID crisis and related economic difficulties, there has been a 12% nation­wide increase in cases of doc­umented homelessness since 2022. Typically, it takes people who experience homelessness 1 to 2 years before they can get back on their feet. As of 2022, Minnesota’s homeless popu­lation has been relatively low compared to other states (13.8 out of 10,000 residents), but the funding provided by DHS will go a long way in keeping people housed in Lake County.

Silverpoint II in Silver Bay is moving toward the design phase. D.W. Jones will be working with the LCHRA to get this project up and running. The LCHRA will be asking for letters of support from em­ployers in Silver Bay who have 20 or more employees. These letters of support will aid the LCHRA as they apply for grant funding for workforce hous­ing projects in the city. Addi­tionally, Director Johnson has been working to generate in­terest among contractors about the potential for single family homes along Penn Boulevard.

Readers have been asking for an update on the John A. John­son property. Alex Happ, own­er of the property, is hoping to create partnerships with local entities so that development can get underway soon. Happ is a local resident and a licensed contractor who is well aware of the need for affordable housing in the area. He said that he is excited about the opportunity that the John A. Johnson prop­erty affords the community and that “everything is on the table” with regard to bringing workforce, senior and market rate housing to Two Harbors.

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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