Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

New economic development tool debuts in Ely

Business-centric website up and running

Keith Vandervort
Posted 11/6/19

ELY – The Economic Development Authority arm of the city of Ely strives to provide initiatives to promote business growth in the community and a new website was recently launched to highlight …

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New economic development tool debuts in Ely

Business-centric website up and running


ELY – The Economic Development Authority arm of the city of Ely strives to provide initiatives to promote business growth in the community and a new website was recently launched to highlight those efforts.
City council members, acting as members of the EEDA, met last week Richard Stuart, webmaster of the new website, located at, who reviewed and detailed the new service, that describes the city of Ely as possessing “flexible real estate, a first-rate education system, and forward-thinking incentives create momentum for businesses seeking to start up, expand, or relocate.”
“This website was developed a few months ago and we completed a beta testing and it is now up and running and continues to serve the public in terms of generating greater awareness of the economic development authority and how you are serving all of us in the community,” Stuart said.
According to Stuart, on the website’s introductory page, “The Ely Economic Development Authority is on a mission to position Ely as one of Minnesota’s most desirable cities to open, grow and maintain a business.”
“The City of Ely in conjunction with our community partners provides unique opportunities for recreation, culture, and work not often seen in a city of its size. Our outstanding educational opportunities, a full range of medical services, exceptional outdoor experiences, and an unequaled sense of community spirit ensure that Ely offers an excellent quality of life to residents in affordable neighborhoods that complement our natural surroundings.”
The EEDA also touts the community’s “flexible real estate, a first-rate education system, and forward-thinking incentives,” as the organization strives to continue to create momentum for businesses seeking to startup, expand, or relocate. “The Ely Economic Development Authority supports business, industry, and entrepreneurship, providing long-term, quality employment, and economic vitality,” Stuart said.
The site includes information about ongoing projects, including the new west end and trailhead development project as well as infrastructure and utility availability, reports, demographics. “There is quite a bit of information and it is pretty comprehensive in terms of what it covers,” Stuart said. “All this information is available for anyone looking to start a business here in Ely.”
Council member Heidi Omerza, who serves as president of the EEDA in addition to her involvement with the League of Minnesota Cities and other organizations, said the website stands out. “They tell me this is very professional,” she said.
Mayor Chuck Novak touted the significant progress made on the website development. “Our intent, of course was to capture Internet traffic away from another site, for one, and to show that we do have economic development opportunities. The more that we can put on this is positive and good. He added that Stuart “has been proactive to make a dang good site” and it will remain fresh and updated to provide new material.
Ely’s economic development advisor, John Fedo, said the site will be full of facts of progress in the community. “There is more to come,” he said. “Additional information will tell the next chapter. There is more to come.”
Clerk-Treasurer Harold Langowski touted the demographics information available on the new EEDA website. “We started talking about updating our website about a year ago. Demographics information are those things businesses are asking for. I think just information on there has been important. I think it is just spectacular. These are things that people are asking for and he developed that for us. I would like to thank Richard for his hard work.”

Waste pickup contract
During a special city council meeting also held last Tuesday, council members gave their final approval to the waste pickup licensing agreement with G-Men Environmental Services Inc., with a couple of minor additions.
City residents and commercial customers were set to lose curbside pickup on Nov. 1 without a renewal of the contract. Negotiations with G-Men have been ongoing since late spring.
The new contract calls for residential service to be provided in the city of Ely for the next four years. Commercial waste pickup shall be provided for one year.
Last-minute changes to the contract, according to City Attorney Kelly Klun, call for a $100,000 performance bond to be provided by the contractor, liability insurance to be provided by the contractor is increased from $1.5 million to $2 million for the length of both contracts, and the contractor will be able to terminate either or both contracts with a 180-day notice.
Omerza voiced her continuing frustration with the waste disposal contract negotiation process. “Perhaps this is twisting the knife, but I feel like twisting the knife,” she said. “I feel that we are no further ahead, in fact we are further behind. I don’t feel like we helped the citizens at all. We have more attorney fees. I don’t know if our contractor is any further ahead. I’m disappointed in the whole process. I feel we could have done a better job, and in the future we do a better job.”
Council member Paul Kess noted that having two separate contracts, one for residential and one for commercial service, is a significant change. “We can now begin to discuss changes for the next commercial contract,” he said.
Mayor Novak also continues to be frustrated with the waste disposal contract negotiation process. “Once again, we are at the last minute here,” he said. “We have something on the table that we didn’t get until we got here. That’s when mistakes are made. I have seen only one documented complaint on this. We have mushed this thing around. We must pass this or our citizens will suffer. This will, in all likelihood, raise the rates to the residents, many of whom are on fixed incomes. This should have been settled a long time ago. I have been frustrated with this. I’ll be participating actively on anything with this in the future.”
Council members voted 6-0 in favor of the contract. One council member was absent from the meeting.

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