EDA shares golf course, business park news
The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority met on May 10, welcoming two new board members and then tackling an agenda full of ongoing projects.
The new board members are Mark Shackleton, co-owner of the Grand Marais Subway. Shackleton is the EDA representative for the city of Grand Marais. The other new board member is Steve Surbaugh of Cascade Vacation Rentals. Surbaugh is the EDA representative for the county.
The EDA also heard a presentation from some staff members at the Superior National at Lutsen Public Golf Course, including one of the last reports on course conditions from Grounds Supervisor Mike Davies. Davies is retiring after 33 years of service. The EDA board thanked him for his work during his long tenure and Davies launched into a report on the course. Davies said the course came through the winter in good condition.
The EDA board met new golf course employee Keith Backstrom who is managing the Pro Shop. He pointed out that you don’t have to golf to come to enjoy time in the Superior National clubhouse. He said the bar and grill is open to all. He said the clubhouse was open during the winter and the feedback and use of the building were good.
The golf course representatives said one of their major concerns heading into this season is the inability to hire the staff needed; prior to the pandemic, J1 and H2B workers from Lutsen Resort filled most of this need. Davies said the course is still in need of four or five more employees for the grounds crew.
As always, activities at the Cedar Grove Business Park were an agenda item. EDA Director Beth Drost and Board Member Ann Sullivan continue to work on language to take to the city of Grand Marais in an ordinance change request to allow residential use of lots in the business park for owners and employees of a business.
The EDA board agreed to accept a counteroffer on the sale of Lot 9, Block 5 in the Cedar Grove Business Park. The lot is being purchased for $20,182 by Ron Piercy of Yellow Bird Fine Arts. There are some details to be worked out and Piercy has contacted Beaver River, a firm that develops stormwater management plans. There will be a public meeting as required for business park lot sales on June 14 at 4 p.m. Piercy plans to construct several small buildings as artist workspace with one central building providing water and bathroom facilities.
Tony Everson approached the EDA expressing interest in purchasing the residential acreage that the EDA owns above the business park. This is an area that was once considered for a residential project known as Sawtooth Cottages. However, due to lack of funding the project was never developed. The EDA agreed to do some research to calculate the current value of the 15.52-acre site. Once that is done, the EDA must notify the public of the intent to sell the property. The board said they would like to continue the conversation with Everson.
In other housing news, former EDA Director and current board member of the Cook County Housing and Redevelopment Authority (HRA) Mary Somnis introduced the new HRA Director, Jason Hale. Hale said he looks forward to working with the EDA.
Hale indicated that he had learned of the two lots to the east of the Law Enforcement Center in Grand Marais and said he could assist with the potential development of those lots. Drost said she has been reviewing county tax parcels to try to locate properties belonging to the county that could possibly be developed as housing.
In other news, the EDA passed a resolution of support for some trail rehabilitation at the Pincushion Trails in Grand Marais.
The next EDA meeting will be on June 14 at 4 p.m. in the commissioner’s room at the Cook County courthouse. More information can be found on the EDA website.