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Two Harbors Council; Odegard Trail Expansion & Vacation of 5th Street

The Two Harbors City Council passed a resolution on Monday that confirms the redesign of a portion of the Odegard Trail where it crosses property owned by the Canadian National Rail­road. CN has asked that the trail be moved 25 feet further away from the track and is re­quiring that a six-foot fence be erected between the track and the trail. The city will be responsible for the cost of the fence, which will total $80,000. While building the fence will add to the overall cost of the trail project, it will also lessen safety concerns for hikers and bikers who use the trail. City leaders have been working on the trail ex­pansion plan for two years. Specific issues discussed by Council members included whether or not the trail proj­ect is a priority for the city at this time and alternative ways to fund fence construc­tion so that the requirement from CN can be met. As time and money have already been committed to the project, the decision to move forward with the redesign and find­ funds for the related costs drew a unanimous decision by the Council.

Lake Superior School District Superinten­dent Jay Belcastro and Minnehaha School Principal Brett Archer spoke with the Coun­cil about the possible vacation of the road­way along the 700 block of 5th Avenue. It is clear that Minnehaha has limited playground space. The traffic congestion at student drop-off and pick-up times has led to two accidents where students were struck by cars. There have been several “close calls” as well. The purpose of the vacation is to address safety concerns, relieve traffic congestion, and pro­vide a little extra play space for recess activ­ities and outdoor gym classes. The Council will be referring the district’s proposal to the Safety Committee for further consideration. School District officials will be discussing the situation with property and business own­ers on 5th Street in the hope of coming up with a workable agreement.

Jolene Brink and Steve Waring present­ed the results of the Community Waterfront Survey that was conducted by Friends of the Waterfront as part of their ongoing collabo­ration with the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD). 46 individuals have volun­teered their time to address redesign ideas for the city’s waterfront. They have held 25 events, conducted interviews, and done re­search for waterfront improvement. Over 400 people responded to the survey which included questions about what people enjoy about the waterfront, barriers that exist in the current space and amenities, and features that people would like to see as part of the rede­signed waterfront. Restrooms, shade trees, environmentally friendly plantings, an outdoor pavilion, connecting existing trails and paths, and improved vehicle and pedestrian access were frequent survey respons­es. CIRD will return to Two Harbors in June for a multi-day design workshop with actual design recommendations coming next Fall.

Finally, the Council approved two resolu­tions that will allow for the posting of bids to replace the rotating beacon at the Two Har­bors Airport and provide pavement crack re­pair for the runway and tarmac areas.

The next Two Harbors City Council meet­ing will be held on Monday, February 12th, 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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