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Concept Plan for Downtown Development of Silver Bay Dominates City Council Meeting

There was much discussion on a number of topics at Monday night’s Silver Bay City Council Meeting. Resolutions ranging from design wrap for the new Zamboini, need­ed roof repair at the Mary Mac Center, and a grant application to the DNR to inventory trees in the City and address the problem of tree replacement due to Emerald Ash Borer and Budworm infestation were considered and passed by the Council. Additionally, the Council adopted an updated purchase and de­velopment agreement with the Lake County Housing and Redevelopment Authority for an IRRRB grant for $500,000 which will help fund city owned infrastructure to the Boathouse Bay Development.

Taking center stage at the meeting was the presentation of a Vision Concept Plan for Sil­ver Bay’s downtown area. Economic Devel­opment Director David Drown talked about the importance of creating a business district that is modernized, convenient for residents, attractive and efficient for businesses and pro­vides needed housing that is affordable and makes space for expansion of the workforce. The components of this vision plan include ideas from area residents who attended past hearings that were held to gain public input on how best to encourage revitalization of the downtown. The vision plan is expansive and includes many proposed features like the cre­ation of public green space with a play area and an amphitheater for concerts and other public events. There is talk of the possibility of removing Davis Drive and opening a new street on land behind the shopping center. Many of the existing buildings in town are set back from nearby streets and redesigning the routes that businesses can be accessed from will increase convenience for residents and make the delivery of goods to businesses more efficient. The plan also acknowledges investments that the city has made to expand the library and the city’s trail system.

Drown stated that he has had many conver­sations with residents who are excited about opportunities to revitalize the city. The Vi­sion Plan simply proposes details on how this revitalization could be done and offers some visual renderings on what that revitalization might look like in the future, should the plan move to the stage of becoming an actual proj­ect.

Drown said that the plan, as presented at Monday’s meeting, may never be completed as proposed, but it does give city leaders a blueprint, of sorts, as they think about plan­ning for the future.

There were a number of residents at the meeting which led to some spirited discus­sion. Drown and Council members answered the questions of those present. Mayor Wade LeBlanc reminded folks that “If you don’t have a vision, you have no plan to move forward”. The Council voted unanimously to accept the vision plan and is referring it to the Planning and Zoning Commission for consideration on how city zoning regulations will need to be adjusted to accommodate re­vitalization work.

Doubtless, there will be further conversa­tions about all of this and residents are en­couraged to participate. The next City Coun­cil meeting is scheduled for September 4th at 7:00 p.m. at City Hall.

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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