WTIP file photo

City talks dog park, rain garden and snow removal

The Grand Marais City Council heard requests for a dog park and new snow removal equipment at their last meeting in August. The meeting, held via Zoom, started with a time for public comment and that is where the dog park discussion began.

Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux said the city had received a proposal from the Go Dog North Shore organization for the creation of a dog park on Sawtooth Bluff area.

Go Dog North Shore has an agreement with the local saddle club to use the horse park on Creechville Road in Grand Marais, when horses are not using it. However, sharing that space is not ideal for either group.

Go Dog North Shore reminded the city council that the idea of a dog park on the Old Ski Hill area above Grand Marais was included in the most recent Sawtooth Bluff Master Plan, put together jointly by the city and Cook County. The mayor read through the Go Dog North Shore’s list of benefits to the community if this became a reality.

Go Dog North Shore said if they received an endorsement from the City of Grand Marais, they could work with the county to acquire the space and they could seek funding for development of an appropriate area for a dog park.

City Councilor Kelly Swearingen noted that there had been some discussion of moving the dog pound from the Grand Marais waterfront at the Rec. Park to the Cedar Grove Business Park. She asked if the dog park could also be located there. Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux said that idea had been considered, but both groups–Go Dog North Shore and Arrowhead Animal Rescue, which oversees use of the pound—agreed the two sites were not compatible.

The city council agreed that discussion needed to start about the dog park and the Sawtooth Bluff area, but did not give a formal endorsement of the Go Dog North Shore proposal.

Lenny Bloomquist, the streets department supervisor, was at the council meeting to answer questions about the proposed purchase of snow removal equipment for the city. Bloomquist had investigated various snow removal equipment after it was determined that the city would have more sidewalks and parking areas to clear when the Minnesota Department of Transportation Highway 61 project is complete.

Bloomquist found a 2006 articulated trackless machine that has a blower and a truck-loading attachment. He had the company that sells these machines visit and demonstrate how it works last winter and the street department was impressed. However, the price was prohibitive–$130,000 for a brand new machine. Bloomquist reported that he had found the similar machine, older, but with low use, for $60,000.

Councilors had questions about the age of the machine and its condition. A motion was passed to authorize Bloomquist to purchase the machine, contingent on it being in good condition.

Also at the meeting was Phil Larson, of Cook County Soil & Water, who asked for the city’s support of creation of a raingarden to the east of the Best Western Hotel. The development would not cost the city anything for installation, but would require a bit of maintenance. The Soil and Water District will work with the Best Western on this. Noting that this rain garden will slow the water flowing from city streets directly into Lake Superior and gave its approval of the project.

In other business, Councilor Tim Kennedy spoke of his role on the Cook County Parks & Trails Commission. He said the commission has been asked to take a look at the Passion Pit beach area on the east side of Grand Marais. There have been some reports of trespassing on private land, loud parties and misuse of the beach. Concerned nearby property owners want the area closed to the public. Many members of the public cite historic use of the area and want it to remain open for families to enjoy. Kennedy said the commission would like a city representative involved in the discussion. Both Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux and Councilor Swearingen said they would like to be involved.

Also discussed was the condition—or disappearance—of trees in the downtown area that were planted during the last round of roadwork in the city. Mayor Arrowsmith DeCoux said he had been asked what happened to the trees that had been planted in designated spots in the sidewalks. He said he is doing some research to see what sort of trees will fare the best in those spots. He will get back to the council with what he learns.

Finally, the mayor noted that the Grand Marais Library budget, which is shared by the city and the county, had been approved by the county.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Mayor Jay Arrowsmith DeCoux about the dog park and the rain garden.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence also spoke to the mayor about a snow removal equipment purchase, the Passion Pit beach area, and trees in the city.

The next Grand Marais City Council meeting is Wednesday, September 9 at 6:30 p.m., via Zoom. To see the meeting agenda, click here.