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Community center could open later this month

Project has been in the works for several years

Tom Klein
Posted 2/3/16

COOK – A new community center at the Doug Johnson Recreation Area should be open later this month, Tammy Palmer told the Cook City Council last week.

Palmer said a plumbing inspection is …

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Community center could open later this month

Project has been in the works for several years

Posted

COOK – A new community center at the Doug Johnson Recreation Area should be open later this month, Tammy Palmer told the Cook City Council last week.

Palmer said a plumbing inspection is scheduled this week and, provided the center passes the inspection, it could be open shortly thereafter.

There is still some work to complete, such as installing a pool table and other furniture, but the project is largely complete, she said.

The center project has been in the works for more than four years. Palmer estimated that, over that time, more than $325,000 in donations were raised through various fund-raisers and volunteers contributed at least $300,000 in labor and services to construct the center. The donations include a $50,000 grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board to purchase materials for the building.

Plans for the building include a concession stand with a small dining area, arcade-type games, space for doing homework, a flat-screen television and a pool table. The building will also serve as a warming shack for winter activities and be available for rent for family reunions, wedding receptions and other events.

The W.C. Heiam Foundation representatives have expressed interest in using the building for their annual fund-raiser in the summer, and Cook Mayor Harold Johnston suggested holding a council meeting at the site in the future.

The city Parks and Recreation Commission also plans to hire a part-time attendant to oversee activities at the center. The staffer will work 25-28 hours per week at a rate of pay of $10.31 per hour. Applicants were being interviewed.

Palmer said a grand opening ceremony for the center would be held later, probably during the summer, to thank the community for its support for the center and the volunteers who donated time and their talents to the project.

Even once the center is complete, fund raising will continue, with proceeds used to furnish the center as well as maintain it.

Meanwhile, Palmer said the ice rink at the center is already in use with the gazebo serving as a temporary warming shack. The lights at the center were recently upgraded and volunteers, including Gary and Tammy Palmer, and Tom Beaudry, have taken turns turning on and shutting off the lights at the rink. The rink lights are on from 5 to 10 p.m. each night.

In related action, the council approved paying John Mankus for flooding the rink and maintaining it. Mankus will get $1,000 for flooding the rink and $600 for maintaining it through March.

In other business at the Jan. 28 meeting, councilors:

‰Approved payment of $13,405 to SEH Engineering for the Cook Airport master plan.

‰ Okayed payment of invoices totaling $3,322 to Erickson Engineering for the North River Street bridge project and $1,762 to JPJ Engineering for the bridge project.

‰Approved payment of $380 to JPJ Engineering for work related to the demolition of some residential buildings.

‰Agreed to apply to the IRRRB, which has set aside funds for “shovel-ready” projects. Cook will be seeking $206,000 for improvements on Vermilion Drive from Fourth to Fifth Streets and on Fifth and Third Streets. Improvements will include repaving the streets, curb and gutter and some sidewalks.

‰Heard an update on the Lake Vermilion Trail project from Councilor Elizabeth Storm. She said plans to build a trail that would connect Cook to Tower are on hold because of the massive amount of wetlands that would be affected.

An alternative plan to construct a trail along County Road 115 to Fortune Bay Resort Casino is being considered, however.

‰ Discussed the safety training schedule for Cook city employees.

‰ Named the Cook News Herald as the city’s legal newspaper. The city received bids from the Cook News Herald and the Timberjay. The Cook News Herald bid $1 per column inch for legals and $4 per column inch for display ads. The Timberjay’s bid was 89 cents per column inch for legals and $2.75 per column inch for ads. When column width differences were taken into account, the Cook News Herald’s bid for legal publishing was lower.

Even so, Mayor Harold Johnston made a motion to designate the Timberjay as the official newspaper. The motion failed for lack of a second.

‰Received the monthly liquor store report which showed sales totaled $105,259 in December, up from sales of $99,239 for the same month in 2014. Year-to-date sales totaled $1.54 million compared to $1.49 million for the same period in 2014.

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