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Two Harbors Council Considers Redevelopment of 2nd Avenue

Lake County Housing and Redevel­opment Director, Matthew Johnson spoke with the Two Harbors City Council on Monday night about possibilities for rehabilitating some of the properties along the 600 block of 2nd Avenue. Johnson did not come to the meeting with a spe­cific plan for the properties, but he did advocate for collaborative dis­cussions between City and County stakeholders so that a plan could be formulated. There are government grants available to help fund such projects and Johnson indicated that he has heard from two developers who are interested in being in­volved. City officials will take the lead on what redevelopment will ultimately look like. Some build­ings will need rehabilitation and some may need to be demolished, but the possibility of breathing new life into a section of the city that is under used is something that Coun­cil members are eager to tackle.

Johnson has been serving as the Lake County HRA Director for the past eight months and has worked with local officials to solidify plans to address the need for housing across Lake County. He has been instrumental in securing funding to finish rehabilitating the Lakeview Apartments and has helped bring plans for SilverPoint II in Silver Bay to fruition. Lake County offi­cials have been working to support development and have transferred $2 million into a Housing Trust Fund. It has been said that the is­sue of affordable housing has been neglected for the past 20 years. It’s nice to see forward movement toward addressing this critical need.

Todd Hagen, of Ehlers Inc. was on hand to discuss the general obliga­tion bonds for the 2024 – 25 Street Improvement Project and the Capital Equipment Fund. The City has a AA- credit rating and the cur­rent interest rates for public bonds are around 3.75%. The Council agreed to provide for the sale of a $4,605,000 bond for the street project and a $1,265,000 bond for the equipment fund. The Capital Equipment Fund will allow for the purchase of a new fire truck and other heavy equipment needs.

In other business, the Council vot­ed to approve a plan for reconstruc­tion of the taxiway at the airport. The work will repair cracks in the tarmac and address water retention problems by improving drainage of the pavement around the hangers. The cost of the project is $476,000, 90% of which will be covered by funds from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The start of construction on the new Municipal Liquor Store has been pushed back to April 15th due to the weather and the Council accepted the appointment of Ran­dy Hedin to the position of Water / Wastewater Treatment Plant Super­intendent.

The next Two Harbors Council meeting is scheduled for April 22nd at 6:00.

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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