TOWER— The city of Tower will soon have a dramatic new entrance sign at the west end of town. The city council, on Monday, approved the purchase of the new entrance sign, which will be built at the …
TOWER— The city of Tower will soon have a dramatic new entrance sign at the west end of town. The city council, on Monday, approved the purchase of the new entrance sign, which will be built at the southeast corner of the Hwy. 169 and Hwy. 135 intersection.
The Tower-Soudan Community Development Corporation’s Main Street Enhancement Committee obtained $10,000 for the sign as part of a $40,000 entrance enhancement grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.
Kara Polyner, of Ely Design Works, will handle creation of the sign and installation at a cost of $6,880, although her work does not include construction of a foundation for the sign.
Polyner also suggested lighting for the sign, which would be some additional charge, although the council did not explore the idea.
Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said the committee had looked at the number of possible locations for the roughly eight-foot by ten-foot sign, but eventually settled on the highway intersection as the best choice. The sign will take 4-6 weeks to create, according to Polyner’s proposal.
The council also approved a $5,000 proposal from SEH to design a “welcome park” near the Civic Center and train depot. The Main Street Enhancement Committee developed the idea for the informational park and included funds for the design work in their IRRRB grant. The committee will be applying for additional funds in upcoming years to fund actual development of the park, which could include an informational kiosk, picnic tables, landscaping, a sidewalk connection to downtown, and possibly wildlife sculptures.
While approving the design work, some councilors questioned the need for a welcome park or an informational kiosk on Main Street. The city is currently planning to install a “trail center” at the planned East Two River boat launch, downstream from the harbor, and some councilors have suggested an information center elsewhere would be unneeded duplication. The trail center at the boat launch would not be visible or easily accessible, however, for travelers passing through the city on Hwy. 169.
Steve Altenburg also questioned whether the welcome park would conflict with possible changes in the emergency services facilities at the civic center. The park, however, would be located on the west side of the civic center property, near the flagpoles. The fire and ambulance halls are located on the east side of the civic center.
In other business, the council approved a preliminary design for a 30-slip floating dock system at the harbor. The system envisioned would cost $241,000 according to a quote provided by AMI Consulting Engineers along with the preliminary design. City officials have suggested that the city pay for the docks through a revenue bond and recoup the funds through renting some of the slips to residents of town homes and apartments planned for the harbor area.
City officials weren’t clear on the cost of slip rentals as of this week. The city currently rents dock slips at Hoodoo Point Campground for $500 per season, but may have to rent harbor slips for considerably more to meet bond payments.
The council also approved spending $38,500 for engineering and design work to add water and electrical service for seven additional seasonal campsites at the Hoodoo Point Campground. The city would pay for the roughly $275,000 project through a revenue bond paid for, in part, from additional campsite rental fees and a campground capital improvement fund. The proposal, as outlined, would likely involve disconnecting the campground from the current mound system that serves the airport and the campground and would require manual collection of wastewater from RVs at the campground.
In other action, the council:
• Approved the hiring of new firefighters and ambulance drivers, including Dan Nylund, Robert Dicasmirro, Brad Matich, Michael Carlson, and Terry Joki-Martin. Also added as firefighters were Mandy Northrup, Cory Kovatovich, and Olivia Suihkonen.
• Approved spending up to $1,000 for the purchase of a new directional road sign for the campground.
• Approved the painting of crosswalks across Hwy. 169 at both the east and west entrances to the civic center/depot area.
• Approved a $25 fee for existing liquor operations to expand their off-sale to Sunday.
• Approved a quote for $7,350 from Architectural Resources to study and make recommendations to address water leakage at the train depot. Funding will come from a grant obtained by the Tower-Soudan Historical Society.
• Released a report from the Minnesota Department of Health indicating that the city’s water supply is now testing slightly below the maximum allowable level for haloacetic acid and total trihalomethanes. Both chemicals are byproducts of the chlorination that the Tower-Breitung Wastewater Board is adding to address contamination from naturally-occurring organic material in the water. The latest water test, collected May 11, 2017, found 58 micrograms per liter of haloacetic acid compared to the maximum allowable limit of 60 micrograms per liter. It also found 69 micrograms per liter of total trihalomethanes, compared to the maximum allowable limit of 80.4 micrograms per liter.