Local Economic Development Authority needs another member
Rhonda Silence

Local Economic Development Authority needs another member

The Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority (EDA) had some ups and downs in January, with the resignation of a board member and the disappointing news that a grant to assist with the ongoing childcare shortage in the county will not be coming to the county.

Before the January 11 EDA meeting, EDA Board Member Virginia Detrick Palmer submitted her resignation to the EDA. Palmer was appointed to the EDA board in January 2021 to fill the vacancy created by the passing of longtime board member Hal Greenwood. The board accepted Palmer’s resignation, with regrets.

In the past, this seat on the EDA has been filled by a resident of the City of Grand Marais. However, the EDA had some discussion of whether that is absolutely necessary. Director Beth Drost was asked to review the EDA bylaws to define the process.

In the meantime, anyone in the city of Grand Marais who is interesting in serving on the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority may contact EDA Director Beth Drost by email at director@prosperitynorth.com or Grand Marais City Hall at 218-387-1848.

At the January meeting, Director Drost shared some good news regarding a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant to help the community deal with the ongoing childcare shortage. It was thought that the Cook County/Grand Portage Child Care Initiative would receive a grant of $140,000. However, the good news was short-lived. A few days later, Drost learned that there was an error on the part of the granting agency and the money will not be coming to the county.

Drost tells WTIP that does not mean efforts to find solutions to the childcare shortage in the community will not continue. She said the Child Care Initiative group continues to work with Rural Children’s Finance. There are some upcoming events that will be of interest to young families. An appreciation event for local child care providers is being planned for February 17. And on March 14, a town hall is being planned for anyone interested in the child care situation who would like to learn more or who would like to share ideas on how to ensure families have safe and reliable child care.

Cedar Grove Business Park is always an agenda item for the EDA and that was the case in January. Drost reports that over a third of the lots in the business park have been sold. Some lots are pending, but there are 10 lots still available. The latest lot sale finalized was to Three Families Brewing, which will be used as a storage area for Voyageur Brewing Company.

The EDA meets again on Tuesday, February 8 at 4 p.m. in the Cook County Commissioners Room at the Cook County courthouse. The meeting is open to the public. Masks are required.

WTIP’s Rhonda Silence spoke with Director Beth Drost about all this. Here’s their conversation.