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HomeCommunityTwo Harbors City Council Meeting: January 9, 2023

Two Harbors City Council Meeting: January 9, 2023

Ben Redden and Cathy Erickson were named City Council President and Vice President, respectively, in a fast-paced City Council meeting on Monday night. As the Council looks toward 2023 there are a number of pressing issues that they are wanting to address. Chief among these is to determine how to proceed with the Highway 61 project given the fact that the project faces a significant funding shortfall.

Readers may remember that $6 million was the amount MNDOT proposed to fund the project and that the cost of completing the project ballooned to $17 million due to inflation and supply chain issues. Since the construction is scheduled to take two years to complete, the council has some important decisions to make regarding how to proceed in a manner that best fits the needs of the Two Harbors community.

Options that the Council discussed on Monday night included:

  • Selecting certain components of the project that could be completed in the proposed time frame with the funding that is available, while postponing other project components until adequate funding could be secured.
  • Letting MNDOT make the selection of where to start.
  • And finally, requesting a postponement of the project until adequate funding for the entire project is available.

One problem that exists in all of this is that the $6 million from MNDOT that has been secured for the work could be lost if the city doesn’t get started on some aspect of the project. This leaves the Council in a quandary as to how best to move forward given uncertainty about where the remaining funds needed to complete the project will come from. Several Council members expressed concern that there are too many unanswered questions in all of this to make a comfortable decision about how best to proceed. Of course, MNDOT wants a decision from the city so that they can move forward.

After much discussion, a proposal was put forward to inform MNDOT that the Council supports the project but has significant concerns about the negative impacts that prolong- ing the project will have on businesses along the Highway 61 corridor and the potential disruption to the tourist season if the project is not able to be completed in a timely manner. City Administrators will work with MNDOT and newly elected State legislators Natalie Zeleznikar and Grant Hauschild who have both expressed interest in helping the city of Two Harbors secure all of the funds that are needed to complete the project. Clearly, there will be ongoing efforts by City officials and others to find solutions that will allow for the completion of this important upgrade for the city. Stay tuned for further developments.

In other business, Jay Cole made a presentation to the Council on the possibility of opening a Machine Learning Training Center. Such a center could provide training and job opportunities for interested individuals in the burgeoning area of computer technology. In his presentation, Cole stated that Machine Learning is one of the fastest-growing technological fields re- related to the development of artificial intelligence. Cole is looking to offer informational opportunities so that interested folks can learn more about career opportunities related to AI technology.

Fans of the Edna G should keep an eye out for a meeting which will feature a presentation by Paul Lamare. A time and date for this presentation will be determined soon.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 23rd at 6:00 PM.

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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