EDA begins interviewing process for new executive director

EDA begins interviewing process for new executive director

Numerous agenda items were discussed during the Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting on June 20, including an update on the hiring process for a new executive director, Cedar Grove Business Park lots, and financials.

Since advertising for an executive director in the Cook County News Herald, Duluth News Tribune, Indeed, Monster, North Force, Duluth EDA, and numerous other platforms, the Grand Marais/Cook County EDA has received seven applications for the executive director position. Two of the seven applicants are current Cook County residents. 

The EDA Director Search Committee, which consists of two EDA board members, Dave Mills and Steve Surbaugh, and two HRA individuals, Jason Hale, the executive director of the HRA, and Mary Somnis, chair of the HRA met on Monday, June 19 to review and evaluate resumes. 

During the June 20 meeting, the EDA stated they are actively interviewing six applicants. Pat Campanaro, the interim executive director, said the EDA hopes to have made a hiring decision by the next meeting on July 18. 

Cedar Grove Business Park

During the June 20 meeting, the EDA approved an offer on Lot 11 Block 5 of $13,000 for Adam and Mica Harju, the owners of Dirt Candy Designs. Dirt Candy Designs offers trail design, maintenance, and construction to private landowners, businesses, non-profit organizations, and municipalities. 

Dirt Candy Designs previously purchased a Cedar Grove Business Park lot on Nov. 21. They have made progress clearing the land, prepping the site, pouring a slab, and framing a structure. They seek to acquire Lot 11, Block 5, adjacent to their current lot. 

The EDA approved the $13,000 offer from Dirt Candy Designs. 

The EDA also approved an offer for Lot 4 Block 7 for $21,000 from Pete Greczyk of G&G Septic Service. G&G Septic Service intends to construct a shop and a potential dewatering facility in the future. 

The EDA will hold a public hearing before the finalized sale of the two lots at the July 18 meeting. 

In other business park news, the EDA discussed setting aside two lots for the Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) for a potential housing project. In order to do so, the two lots would need to be rezoned by the city of Grand Marais. The EDA board supported and approved moving forward to meet with the city to discuss the two lots. 

In related HRA news, Jason Hale, the executive director of the HRA, has vacated the HRA office space. The HRA had a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the EDA that started July 1, 2022. The HRA requested reimbursement of $3,300 since the HRA prepaid for the rest of the calendar year.  

Hale proposed an arrangement allowing the HRA to hold meetings in the common office space to host small meetings on occasion and to continue listing the building as the place of business for $150 per month. 

The EDA board approved the reimbursement and arrangement. 

Pat Campanaro, who is also a business consultant with the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), will move into the former HRA office. 

The next EDA meeting is July 18 in the commissioner’s room at the Cook County Courthouse.