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Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeCommunityTwo Harbors Updates; Highway 61, Utility Rates and Resilient Coastal Projects Initiative

Two Harbors Updates; Highway 61, Utility Rates and Resilient Coastal Projects Initiative

The Two Harbors City Council had a busy agenda at their Monday night meeting this week. First on the list was a review and update of the Highway 61 Corridor Improvement Project. Josie Olson, Project Manager, and members from the Engineering team for MN­DOT were on hand to review the project and talk about the next steps that will need to be taken to move forward with actual construction. Past Council decisions have determined that this reconstruction project will support long-term growth for Two Harbors and will improve traffic flow and increase safety for both pedestrians and motorists. The Council approved the preliminary design this past year and will be working with MNDOT on a few final design issues before construction starts in 2027. The project has some complexities because needs change, particularly regarding traffic flow, parking and safety, as one moves through the corridor. Some of the highlights of the plan include:

  • The left turn from Scenic Drive to Hwy 61 will be closed
  • Multi-use trail from Scenic Drive into town is separated from the roadway
  • Roundabout at the intersection of Hwy 61 and 7th Avenue
  • Multiple protected pedestrian crossing refuges and sidewalk improvements
  • Roundabout at the intersection of Hwy 61 and 11th Street
  • Retain existing traffic signal at the inter­section of Hwy 61 and 4th Street
  • Park Road intersection improvements
  • Trail connections to future Gitchi Gami Trail

For readers who are interested, there are detailed design plans available online at the MNDOT website.

Mayor Lew Conner proposed an opportu­nity to the Council that would allow the city to engage with the Resilient Coastal Projects Initiative (RCIP). The RCIP organization uses funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to assist in the creation of plans for coastal resiliency projects in cities like Two Harbors. This will be useful as folks from Friends of the Waterfront and city leaders con­sider ways to revitalize the waterfront. Having the support of RCIP will not cost the City any money with the exception of the cost to have city staff involved in the planning. RCIP helps coastal communities find grants through pub­lic-private partnerships and non-profit orga­nizations to help fund projects. Additionally, working with the RCPI allows for collabora­tion with experts on best practices for coast­al projects and provides project managers the opportunity to share and learn from other community leaders on both a regional and na­tional level. As community leaders consider the demolition of the coal docks, the construc­tion of the Veterans Memorial, the placement of the Edna G and other hoped-for features of a revitalized Two Harbors waterfront, the support of RCPI will be helpful. The Council approved the Mayor’s proposal.

City Finance Director, Miranda Pietila, pre­sented a plan for increased utility rates for water and sewer services. The average sin­gle family in Two Harbors uses about 3000 gallons of water per month and will see a monthly rate increase of $4.43. The average multi-family uses approximately 6500 gallons a month and will see a monthly rate increase of $7.00. The rate increase is strictly to cov­er operational costs for water and sewer ser­vices. The Council approved the rate increase.

In other business, the Council authorized an agreement between the City and the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon for the annu­al club run, to be held on January 20, 2024 at the Lakeview Golf Course. Finally, the Council approved the issuance and sale of a #3,742,361 general obligation revenue note to be used for the Water Chlorine Tank Project.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for December 11th at 6:00 p.m.

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