Harbor project shifting out of neutral

Jodi Summit

TOWER- While permitting issues are still being finalized, the city of Tower is moving ahead on bidding for the dredging of the city’s planned new harbor and sections of the East Two River.

The dredging is the next big step in the long-range plan to redevelop the city’s harborfront area. The U.S. Army Corps and the Department of Natural Resources have yet to issue permits for the work, but city officials now expect to have those permits in hand by the end of the month.

The bid opening for the dredging will be on Aug. 28 at 10 a.m., with dredging to begin around Sept. 8.

The city is planning a harbor dredging ceremony to coincide with the beginning of the work. The initial groundbreaking for the harbor was held almost exactly seven years ago, and while city officials knew this was going to be a long-term project, some have doubted that the actual harbor would ever become a reality.

The city’s Harbor Committee met on Aug. 4 to work on the final draft of the agreement with a hotel development firm, Wisconsin-based Cobblestone Inn and Suites. City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said city officials expect to have a signed agreement by the end of the month. Results from the soil boring showed several sites suitable for either a one- or two-story facility. Cobblestone has expressed interest in building a 36-unit hotel, at an estimated cost of $2.25 million. A market study paid for by the city of Tower earlier this year confirmed sufficient demand to support the hotel project.

The committee will now set up meetings with interested condominium developers. Two sites have been tentatively identified as suitable for harbor-area housing, one on the rear of the harbor site near the cross-country ski parking area where water and sewer are already available, and the other on the opposite side of Highway 169, on the land recently purchased by the city from Ron Abrahamson Sr.

Harbor Committee members are also looking into installing a webcam at the harbor, so people can watch the harbor construction in real time.


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