City council requesting proposals for Grand Marais City Hall and municipal liquor store building
WTIP file photo

City council requesting proposals for Grand Marais City Hall and municipal liquor store building

Plans for the future of Grand Marais City Hall and the municipal liquor store building are coming to fruition. 

“We’re looking for an architectural firm that would be willing to help the council walk through the vetting of that design,” said Jay DeCoux, Grand Marais mayor. 

During the August 31 city council meeting, the council approved moving forward with requests for proposals (RFP) for the design and proposed construction of the building. 

The city has battled for years with substandard building conditions, including inadequate storage, a leaky roof, diminished electrical and water infrastructure, and significant structural issues.

“The building itself has served its purpose, and it’s time to find a new solution,” said DeCoux. 

While the conversation has been ongoing for years, DeCoux said, at this point, the council still has a lot of questions about how the process and final outcome will work. He hopes the submitted RFPs will help answer some of those questions.

Renovation plans for the Grand Marais City Hall and municipal liquor store were nearing completion before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the uncertainty of the pandemic’s impact on the city’s finances, the council temporarily decided to halt the plans. 

As plans and discussions have resumed, DeCoux said the city council is still unsure what lies ahead for future city hall and liquor store operations. 

He said it would depend on the RFPs whether city hall and liquor store operations are temporarily or permanently moved to a new location. 

The feedback received showed that the public would prefer to keep the liquor store located in the downtown area with convenient access for visitors and residents. 

4th Avenue Swale Improvement

In other city council news, the council approved a 4th Avenue swale improvement project with Cook County Soil and Water.

Throughout the years, the city has provided maintenance and repairs on sections of 4th Avenue due to continued erosion. The city will work with Cook County Soil and Water to find a long-term solution. 

DeCoux said, “Soil and Water have been an amazing partner for these projects. Locating a significant amount of the funding for it.”

Funding for the project consists of 75% federal grants and 25% city contributions. Of the 25% contribution, 10% has to be financial. DeCoux said the city is planning on using its equipment resources to maximize the amount of city contribution. 

Liability Insurance Renewal

The city council also discussed the annual liability insurance renewal during the August 31 meeting. Benjamin Peters with Security State Insurance presented the city council with the yearly review and recommendations for policy updates. 

Following the presentation, the city moved forward to change and update the policy. Previously the city’s insurance premium was $78,900 with a $10,000 deductible. 

The city council changed the policy to an annual premium of $65,000 with a $20,000 deductible. 

With so few claims each year, the city aims to save $13,900 annually. The city budgets a total of $40,000 each year for deductibles. 

WTIP’s Kalli Hawkins spoke with Grand Marais Mayor Jay DeCoux following the August 31 city council meeting. Audio from the interview is below.