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City accepts bid for clean up for former Tomteboda Resort site

The former Tomteboda Motel site is slated for demolition and cleanup soon
The former Tomteboda Motel site is slated for demolition and cleanup soon

The Grand Marais City Council met Wednesday, June 27 and one agenda item was the decision on whether or not to wait for grant funds for the demolition and clean up of the former Tomteboda Motel site on the western end of Grand Marais.

The discussion began with City Administrator Mike Roth recommending acceptance of a low bid for the work from Veit, at a cost of $92,000, which is $34,584 less than the other bid received.

Roth asked councilors if they would like to wait to have Veit begin the demolition, as the city could apply for grant funding from Iron Range Resources for cleanup. However, the city won't know if it received the funding until the end of July, so clean up would be delayed until later this summer. 

The council debated and ultimately decided to proceed. Councilors noted that this is an eyesore for visitors entering the city.
Councilors also expressed concern about someone being hurt at the site, which is now somewhat hazardous. It was noted that the city could be financially responsible if someone was injured there.

Councilor Kelly Swearingen said although she is a “finance person,” she feels the potential savings is not worth the risk.
The council directed Roth to ask Veit to proceed with clean up of the site as soon as possible.

In other business, the city reviewed a contract with Energy Concepts, Inc. as the contractor to install a photovoltaic (solar) power system at the city’s new public works building. The proposal for the work is $139,818.
After discussion of the payback for the work, there was a consensus that this is important to the city for more than any savings the city would receive.

The council also approved two of three requests from American Legion Post 413 for temporary liquor licenses at events this summer.

The first approved is for a beer garden in Boulder Park over the 4th of July holiday. The beer garden will be operated by Grandma Ray’s and manager Justin Bystrom was at the council meeting. He explained a fenced beer garden would be set up at Boulder Park on July 4-7.

Another temporary liquor license was approved for July 26-28 in Bear Tree Park for the North Shore Music Collaborative’s “Star of the North” concert.  That event will also be coordinated by Grandma Ray’s.

The American Legion had also requested permission to also set up a beer garden at Boulder Park during the August Fisherman’s Picnic, but Bystrom said the organization wants to see how successful the July 4th event is first. He said he may return to the council later if the Legion and Grandma Ray’s opt to proceed.

The council accepted the Grand Marais Park Board recommendation to hire Brandy Erickson to work as a seasonal staffer at the front desk at the Grand Marais Municipal Campground.