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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

A new home for the Ely ambulance?

Keith Vandervort
Posted 7/1/22

ELY – City council members here last week agreed to support the Ely Ambulance Service in their efforts to find a new home through the purchase and renovation of an existing building in the …

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A new home for the Ely ambulance?


ELY – City council members here last week agreed to support the Ely Ambulance Service in their efforts to find a new home through the purchase and renovation of an existing building in the downtown business district.
Along with the city of Ely, Morse Township, Fall Lake Township and the city of Winton have agreed to chip in the funds necessary to purchase the building at the corner of Central Ave. and Chapman St. that previously housed Kondos Outdoors.
The price to purchase and renovate the building is roughly estimated to be $620,000. Renovations would be needed to the facility that would serve as a garage for emergency vehicles and living quarters for on-call emergency medical technicians.
The building would be purchased by the Ambulance Joint Powers Board and leased to the Ely Area Ambulance Service. The three principal governmental units would each pay $200,000 toward the purchase. The city of Winton will reportedly add $20,000 toward the purchase.
Council member Paul Kess attended a recent ambulance joint powers board meeting and updated Ely officials last week.
“The discussion was that the board found and located a building that would serve their needs and for considerably less money than building a new facility,” he said.
A proposal for a new ambulance and public safety facility was estimated to cost more than $3 million. Future expansion plans for the Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital will displace the ambulance garage currently located on the southwest corner of the hospital campus.
Kess said the new arrangement would provide a central location for the ambulances and on-call employees that are now housed in rental properties provided by the ambulance service.
The purchase price for the building is $460,000. Another $160,000 is estimated for building renovations including adding an office, and showers and bathrooms. Area governmental entities would continue to fund ambulance service operations with annual payments on a per capita basis.
Minnesota U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar continue to lobby for ambulance service funding of as much as $3.5 million for the Ely area. The local ambulance joint powers board will also be applying to the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRR) for funding.
“If it ever changes and money rains from the sky and we can build a new building, we can dispose of the building at that time,” Kess said. “This seems to be a very good solution to a very difficult problem.”
Al Forsman agreed.
“On the surface it looks like a good move, and I hope this does work out for them,” he said.
“I am very happy that the townships agreed with this as well,” Mayor Roger Skraba added. “This comes down to either you are a partner or you are not.”
The proposal was agreed to unanimously by the city council.
Other business
In other business at their June 21 meeting, the council:
• Approved a recommendation from the Ely Utility Commission to purchase power poles from Bell Lumber and Pole Co. for $30,896, reflecting a price increase from $346 to $800 per pole.
• Accepted the resignation of Ely Police Department officer Joe Olufson who will be joining the Lake County Sheriff’s Department.
• Approved a note and mortgage for a Residential Rehab Loan for Madalynne Reese and Kathy Quigley, 1139 E. Washington St., for a new propane furnace for $6,000.
• Approved a note and mortgage for a Residential Reb Loan for John Bowe and Rosemary Shepard, 246 N 5th Ave E for roof repair and replacement for $10,000.
• Approved a temporary liquor license for the Dorothy Molter Memorial Foundation for an event on Aug. 17-18 at the Dorothy Molter Museum, and for an event on Sept. 23-24 at Whiteside Park for the Ely Marathon.
• Approved a resolution establishing an absentee ballot board for the 2022 election.


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