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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

TOWER CITY COUNCIL

Work set to begin on harbor project

Project adjusted to fit funding

Aloysia Power
Posted 9/18/14

TOWER- Work on Tower’s Historic Harbor will finally be underway, after the city received final permits from the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers, and awarded bids for the harbor and river dredging …

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TOWER CITY COUNCIL

Work set to begin on harbor project

Project adjusted to fit funding

Posted

TOWER- Work on Tower’s Historic Harbor will finally be underway, after the city received final permits from the DNR and Army Corps of Engineers, and awarded bids for the harbor and river dredging at a special meeting on Sept. 15.

The bid was awarded to Marine Tech of Duluth for $1,416,140. The company, which was low bidder, worked with the city to pare down the scope of the project to fit the city’s available funding.

The city has a little over $1.15 million in grant funding available for the project. The city has $760,000 in taconite aid, $250,000 from the IRRRB, and $140,000 in a city-held certificate of deposit set aside for the project. The city plans to borrow an additional $200,000 from the city’s own Gundersen Trust Fund, which they would repay with projected revenue from the harbor’s marina. The city is planning to fund the $66,000 remainder of the project through sales of city-owned land, or possibly from additional funding received in 2015.

The scope of work includes removing sand bars from the mouth of the East Two River where it meets Lake Vermilion, dredging four other shallow spots in the riverbed, as well as the excavation and construction of the new harbor, and prep work for installation of new docks and marina slips. The dredging will allow more boats to travel from Lake Vermilion into the new harbor. The harbor will be located just north of the new Highway 169 bridge. ,The DNR also still plans to develop a public boat launch site on the other side of the bridge.

The city is hoping to sign a development agreement with Cobblestone Inn and Suites by the end of September, now that the final permits for the harbor have been received, and the bid for the work has been awarded. Cobblestone has expressed interest in building a 36-unit hotel, at an estimated cost of $2.25 million. A market study paid for by the city of Tower earlier this year confirmed sufficient demand to support the hotel project. The city is planning on applying to the IRRRB in October for additional grant funding for infrastructure work required for the hotel project.

Dredging work is expected to begin on Oct. 13, and be completed by the end of March. The timing of the dredging is designed to minimize impacts on the river’s spawning fish population.

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