the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority met on May 10, welcoming two new board members and then tackling an agenda full of ongoing projects.
The new board members are Mark Shackleton, co-owner of the Grand Marais Subway. Shackleton is the EDA representative for the town of Grand Marais. The other new board member is Steve Surbaugh of Cascade Vacation Rentals. Surbaugh is the EDA representative for the county.
The EDA also heard a presentation from select Superior National staff at the Lutsen Public Golf Course, including one of the latest reports on course conditions from Grounds Supervisor Mike Davies. Davies is retiring after 33 years of service. The EDA Board of Trustees thanked him for his work during his long tenure, and Davies launched a report on the course. Davies said the course came through the winter in good condition.
The EDA Board of Directors met with the golf course’s newest employee, Keith Backstrom, who manages the pro shop. He emphasized that you don’t have to play golf to come hang out at the Superior National clubhouse. He said the bar and grill are open to everyone. He said the clubhouse was open during the winter and the feedback and use of the building was good.
Golf course representatives said one of their main concerns heading into this season is the inability to hire the necessary staff. before the pandemic, J1 and H2B workers at Lutsen Resort filled most of this need. Davies said the course still needs four or five additional staff for the field crew.
As always, activities at Cedar Grove Business Park were the order of the day. EDA Director Beth Drost and Board Member Ann Sullivan continue to work on language to bring to the City of Grand Marais in an application for an ordinance variation to allow residential use of park lands activities for business owners and employees.
The EDA Board of Directors has accepted a counteroffer on the sale of Lot 9, Block 5 in Cedar Grove Business Park. The lot is purchased for $20,182 by Ron Piercy of Yellow Bird Fine Arts. There are a few loose ends to iron out, and Piercy contacted Beaver River, a company that develops stormwater management plans. There will be a public meeting as needed for business park land sales on June 14 at 4 p.m. Piercy plans to construct several small buildings as an artist’s workspace with a central building providing water and bathroom facilities.
Tony Everson approached the EDA expressing his interest in purchasing the residential acreage that the EDA owns above the business park. It is an area that was once considered for a residential project known as Sawtooth Cottages. However, due to lack of funding, the project was never developed. The EDA has agreed to do research to calculate the current value of the 15.52 acre site. Once done, the EDA must notify the public of the intention to sell the property. The council said they would like to continue the conversation with Everson.
In other housing news, Mary Somnis, former EDA Director and current Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Board Member, introduced new HRA Director Jason Hale. Hale said he looked forward to working with the EDA.
Hale said he had heard of the two lots east of the law enforcement center in Grand Marais and said he could help with the potential development of those lots. Drost said she reviewed county tax plots to try to locate county-owned properties that could possibly be developed into housing.
In addition, the EDA adopted a resolution in support of the rehabilitation of certain trails at the Pincushion Trails in the Grand Marais.
The next EDA meeting will be June 14 at 4 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Room at the Cook County Courthouse. More information can be found on the EDA website.