Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

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Another piece of the new Lake Vermilion State Park development plan fell into place, Tuesday, when the Breitung Town Board signed a joint powers agreement with the DNR. The agreement covers three main areas, including the DNR’s plan to pave the Stuntz Bay Road, the DNR’s plans for a new water discharge system for the underground mine water, and the township’s agreement to take over responsibility for the Old Ely Road, which will become a township road within the new state park.

The DNR agreed to the modifications asked for by the township, including having the DNR be responsible for routine maintenance of all township roads within the state park boundaries, and to use state funding for repair of township roads in the state park. Breitung will not take formal responsibility for the Old Ely Road until state funds are in place to pay for the reconstruction of the road to design standards agreed to by the township. Breitung will be expected to work with the state park on winter road maintenance until such time as the state park has sufficient equipment to do its own plowing. The township will be reimbursed for such expenses by the DNR.

The formal easement agreement for the Old Ely Road will be finalized at a later date. The easement will include the Jasper Peak Road, as requested by the township, which hopes to use that road as an alternative access to the township gravel pit.

Carolyn Miner, who lives on Armstrong Bay, noted they are seeing increased traffic on their formerly private road. She asked the town board to clarify who has liability for maintenance activities this winter. The road’s residents have been responsible for plowing a section of this road in the past.

Breitung Chairman Tim Tomsich said that most likely the township would be providing plowing services on the road this winter, and that they had already been discussing this issue with the DNR.

Echo Point paving?

The question of whether or not the township should pave the end of Echo Point, up to the Swamp Road intersection, was discussed. The township will send letters to residents on the road to see what their feelings are on the matter. The road improvement, if done, would increase valuations slightly, possibly by $10,000 for each $100,000 in value. There will be a blacktop plant in the area next spring, making the project more affordable. The township got an estimate for a two-inch blacktop overlay at $38,000, though they noted a three or four-inch overlay would probably be required.

Other business

In other business the board:

‰ Noted the township had received a $5,000 grant from Cleveland Cliffs, and would be receiving an additional $5,000 for the next two years, to help fund improvements to the township’s recreation area, including construction of a canopy, new sidewalks and new fencing. The total project is expected to cost around $50,000.

‰ Approved a pay request from USA for $33,259 for sod work. They noted the contractor still hasn’t completed the items on the punch list, which are required before the final $61,000 is paid to the contractor.

‰ Passed a motion to have Minnesota Power relocate a streetlight to Spring Street, close to Highway 169, and to install a new streetlight on Third Avenue.

‰ Set the October meeting for Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. There is a state park planning meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 27, the regular township meeting date. McKinley Park rates for 2011 will be discussed at the Oct. 26 meeting.

‰ Awarded the bid for roof repairs from hail damage to Hinkel Construction, who had the low bid of $7,000. The work probably won’t be done until next spring.

‰ Discussed the road reroute being done by Mr. Rowe on Puncher Point. The embankments have not been created to township standards and will have to be corrected.