Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Council weighs campground upgrade

Marshall Helmberger
Posted 6/15/16

TOWER—A significant upgrade to the Hoodoo Point Campground is being considered by the city council here, in order to meet the high demand for seasonal RV sites at the facility. “I have a waiting …

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Council weighs campground upgrade


TOWER—A significant upgrade to the Hoodoo Point Campground is being considered by the city council here, in order to meet the high demand for seasonal RV sites at the facility. “I have a waiting list of 120 people,” said Randy Pratt, co-manager of the campground, during the council’s regular monthly meeting on Monday. Councilor Brad Matich was absent.

Pratt had asked the council last month to consider adding seven new seasonal sites in an open area currently used as overflow for tent campers on peak weekends, but the council hadn’t taken any clear action. Pratt said he was hoping that the city could make a decision soon so work might be able to begin yet this year. In addition to the seven seasonal RV sites, Pratt said the campground would benefit from upgrading electrical service at existing sites, from the current 30 amp service to 50 amp.

He also suggested possible extension of camping sites further out onto the point to accommodate more users.

Pratt said the new revenue from the additional RV sites would bring in an extra $15,000 a year. The city would have the option of paying for the upgrades through the use of a revenue bond, which would be paid off through the revenues generated by the expansion. Tower City Clerk-Treasurer Linda Keith said Nick Skarich of North land Securities, had indicated the project would likely support a revenue bond of approximately $200,000. Keith said it would take about six months to go through the bonding process, once the council gives the go-ahead.

Councilors seemed amenable to the proposal and asked Keith to contact SEH for help in drafting a preliminary plan and cost estimates that can be brought back to the council later this summer.

In other project developments, Mayor Josh Carlson gave an update on planning for the joint emergency services building between Tower and Breitung Township. He said the committee working on the project has been reducing the building’s footprint, which is now down to 15,000 square feet, mostly to reduce the cost. “I think 15,000 is a reasonable number to shoot for,” said Carlson. “We went for the Cadillac plan at first and now we’re paring it down.”

Meanwhile, he said Breitung Township was doing soil borings at their proposed facility location on Hwy. 169 to see if the site would accommodate the building.

In other action, the council:

• Heard from Clerk Keith that the city’s proposal for 2017-18 LCCMR funding for harbor upgrades had made the first cut and that Keith and City Engineer Matt Bolf would be traveling to St. Paul later this summer to make a formal presentation to the group.

• Gave approval to a letter to RV park proposer Dave Rose that outlines the additional information he’ll need to develop before the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission can consider his application for a conditional use permit. Keith said that, according to the city’s zoning ordinance, Rose would be required, among other things, to complete an environmental assessment worksheet, or EAW, before the city could issue a permit. As part of that, Rose will be required to complete a wetland delineation, proposed wetland impacts and a mitigation plan, detailed site design and a grading, clearing, and restoration plan.

• Approved the purchase of 50 new light pole banners for Main Street, for a cost of $42 per banner. City officials said they hope to have the new banners delivered and installed by July 4.

• Asked city maintenance workers to remove a deadhead that is posing a risk to navigation in the East Two River, near the entrance from Pike Bay.

• Briefly discussed how to proceed with the land transfer from the Tower Economic Development Authority to the Tower Vision 2025 group now planning a town house project along the harbor. Keith said the city’s attorney indicated that the transfer will require a public hearing, which the council tentatively set for Monday, June 27, just prior to the council’s special meeting on the same date.

• Appointed Breitung Police Chief Jesse Anderson as the city’s new Emergency Management Director.

• Approved a street closure request by Randy Semo for 4th of July activities near the Good Ol’ Days Bar and Grill.

• Approved the issuance of 2016-17 liquor licenses for Benchwarmers and D’Erick’s.

‰ Discussed a letter by the Vermilion Housing Corporation inquiring about the city’s interest in the possible purchase of a roughly 20-acre parcel of land just north of the senior apartments in Tower. The council directed city staff to see if a preliminary value for the property could be established.

• Approved a lease amendment, contingent on city engineer approval, with American Tower for a slight adjustment in the footprint of the current cell tower lease on the city’s north hill. The company agreed to pay the city an additional $300 per month for the revised lease.

• Approved the transfer of a lease cabin property, pending receipt of the transfer fee, from Corrine Hobbs to Ron and Gwen Potter.

• Appointed Keith and deputy clerk Stephanie Carlson as head election judges for 2016 elections. The council subsequently appointed Elsie Dahl, Margie Johnson, Sheldon Majerle, Mandy Northrup, Carol Pratt, and Pat Raj as election judges.

• Accepted the resignation of Matt Tuchel as Ambulance Supervisor, effective Dec. 2, 2016. Tuchel said he has enjoyed his time as supervisor and intends to remain active with the service. But he has shoulder surgery scheduled for December that will take him out of commission for one to three months and felt he should leave his position prior to that. Even so, Tuchel said he would be willing to serve as an assistant director if the council wished him to continue in some leadership capacity.

• Hired Jennifer Mounsdon as a new EMT with the Tower Ambulance.

• Promoted Dean Dowden and Jake Schmidt from Emergency Medical Responders to Emergency Medical Technicians.

• Gave the second and final reading to a zoning change converting an acre just north of Nate Dostert’s mini-storage buildings on Hoodoo Point Road to commercial.

• Approved a plan for repairs to the City Hall’s front steps.

• Approved a street closure for D’Erick’s for 4th of July activities.

• Accepted a $7,500 grant on behalf of the Tower-Soudan Historical Society.

• Approved a $1,000 expenditure for the city’s share of the purchase of a speed indicator trailer by the Breitung Police Department.


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Dave and Dar Rose

Thanks once again for the support. We are already working on the list of approvals needed from the different government agencies. First big job is the Wetland delineation which is now complete. The old railroad track bed and most of land is not wetland. This come out better than we even hoped for. Plan is smaller rv's in the ceadars on the north side and larger rigs on the track bed down by the river. Once again were allowing guests to walk the property and get the feel of this beatiful site. Any questions call me at 320 295 1883. Thanks Dave and Dar Rise.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Change is good

A waiting list of 120 people proves there is a huge demand for more R.V sites in the area. I've been working at Lake Vermilion public landings, inspecting boats for invasive species and conducting surveys. I am frequently assigned to Hoodoo Point. There is a large R.V. park and campground adjacent to the landing. I have been amazed how quiet the campers are. I am pleasantly surprised that so many people, with kids and dogs are rarely heard. The folks that use such sites are responsible and respectful. I hope the Rose's variance is granted in Tower. It would be a huge benefit to the community, and all of Tower's businesses. Please say yes!

Friday, June 17, 2016