Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Cook Council discusses FAA recommendations

Marcus White
Posted 1/31/19

COOK - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants some changes made at the airport here after awarding the city a grant last year.

Council member Karen Hollanitsch was present for the …

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Cook Council discusses FAA recommendations

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COOK - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) wants some changes made at the airport here after awarding the city a grant last year.

Council member Karen Hollanitsch was present for the inspection that led to the requests and presented the changes to the city council last Thursday evening.

Of principal concern was a snowmobile trail crossing a disused runway. “They (the FAA) won’t buy our argument that we don’t use that runway; they want them off of there,” Hollanitsch said.

Even if the trail were moved off the runway, it still crosses within the boundaries of the active runways’ “safety zone” on the west side of the facility.

While the airport does not see much use during the winter months, Hollanitsch said federal officials threatened further funding to the city if it didn’t comply with their recommendations.

“If we don’t move it, the FAA can keep us from getting any federal money for projects in the city of Cook,” she said.

One of the other FAA requested changes, however, could create a dispute between federal and state agencies. Hollanitsch said the FAA wants trees cleared on one side of the runway. She said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, on the other hand, won’t allow the city to cut the trees, which provide a buffer along the nearby Rice River. The council adopted no solution to the issue but will further discuss it in the future.

The FAA also urged the city to install deer fencing on the property as well as change the location of the airport’s beacon because of a safety concern related to accessing the beacon’s bulb.

In other council business:

 City Administrator Theresa Martinson said the library had been awarded a $50,000 grant for accessibility improvements.

 A motion to raise the pay of the library assistant’s position to $10.83 per hour was passed. The position is currently vacant.

 It was reported that 17 deer were killed during last year’s city-wide deer bow hunt.

Martinson said she is working to obtain IRRRB funding to update city infrastructure in and around the Zup’s property when it is rebuilt this year.

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