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Ely moves ahead with skate park, more housing

Keith Vandervort
Posted 12/6/18

ELY – Two new city projects to kick off the new year, constructing a new skate park and adding more market rate housing, were authorized by the Ely City Council Tuesday night in an abbreviated …

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Ely moves ahead with skate park, more housing

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ELY – Two new city projects to kick off the new year, constructing a new skate park and adding more market rate housing, were authorized by the Ely City Council Tuesday night in an abbreviated meeting.

Council members breezed through a light agenda in less than 30 minutes at their second-to-last meeting of 2018.

A new skate park to be built near the Ely Rec Center has been on the wish list of the Park and Recreation Board for several years, but obtaining bids for the project has been a challenge, according to Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski. “As you recall, we have asked for bids for construction at least twice before, with no luck.”

Local contractor Rock Country Masonry has agreed to take on the budgeted $30,000 project for a down payment of $100. Park and Rec Board members recommended awarding the bid.

“The owner and an employee, I believe, are avid skate-boarders,” Langowski said, “and this will be an exciting opportunity to get a little skate park here. They will schedule to start work in the spring.”

Mayor Chuck Novak noted that specific data on the project was not supplied to the council in the agenda packet for members to consider prior to the meeting. “I would ask that background information be provided for the council to study on agenda items,” he said.

Council members unanimously accepted the bid.

Novak asked the council to consider a recommendation from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority to consider the construction of additional market rate housing in the city. “We’re looking at getting plans together for more town homes, to look at the bid documents, and to study the actual architectural drawings and see what we can do,” he said. “We’ll also look at what bonding needs to be passed.”

Novak noted that the demand for more housing existed when the first town homes went up. “When we opened the doors, we filled every one of them and there has been a waiting list ever since. I know of some folks who are just waiting to put their house up for sale when they have something else to go into.”

Langowski said the housing study, published a few years ago, may require some updating. “I think a lot of the numbers may have changed a bit, and in a positive direction, in terms of our housing stock. Houses are selling here. It has become a demand-driven market.”

Council members approved a motion authorizing the HRA to move forward with the project.

In other business, the council took the following actions:

-Approved the council and staff to attend the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools annual meeting and dinner on Jan. 10 at the Mt. Iron Community Center and called a special meeting for the event so all council members could attend;

-Approved the writing off of 140 accounts, totaling $70,869.70 as bad debts. Langowski said the debts have been on the books for decades and the city’s auditor recommended the action to clear the books;

-OK’d a lighting rebate of $1,021.85 for Steger Designs;

Approved a note and mortgage for a rehabilitation loan of $17,500 for E Chapman Properties LLC for the work on the AFU building, and similar loan for $4,700 for Alyssa Nelson, 337 W. Harvey St.;

-Hired Andrew Luthens for the position of equipment operator 2, and agreed to post internally for the vacant custodian position;

-Changed the date of the first council meeting of 2019 to Wednesday Jan. 2, because of the New Year’s Holiday;

-Approved all 2019 tobacco license renewal applications pending receipt of all documentation and payment.

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