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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Board setting sights on reducing blight in Soudan

Rachel Brophy
Posted 8/4/22

SOUDAN – The Breitung Town Board continued discussion on what can be done to remedy blight problems that continue to plague some area properties at their meeting on July 28.“We’ve …

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Board setting sights on reducing blight in Soudan

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SOUDAN – The Breitung Town Board continued discussion on what can be done to remedy blight problems that continue to plague some area properties at their meeting on July 28.
“We’ve got to keep talking to them,” Chairman Tim Tomsich said in regard to three area property owners who have been notified of blight issues on their properties, but have not completed the requested work. In reference to one property owned by Casey Richards, Breitung Police Chief Dan Reing said, “I’ve spoken to him. He’s in the process of getting those vehicles licensed. I told him it’s looking like a car dealership over there.” Matt Tuchel from the fire department suggested that the department may be interested in taking a few of the old cars as a donation to their training programs as one way to help clean up the mess at the property.
The owner of another blighted property has been given notice that cleanup will be undertaken by the township if they don’t deal with it. Reing pointed out that there’s hazardous materials on at least two of the blighted properties which then becomes a matter requiring state involvement.
Breitung Town Clerk, Dianna Sunsdahl read the current language for the board stating that junk autos are prohibited (in city limits) and this shall include motor vehicle(s) not licensed for use upon the highway.
“The next step in the ordinance allows us to go in and clean up and charge back to the property owner,” Tomsich pointed out. Reing stated that he will make contact with the property owner.
The board also addressed a request for a letter for a homeowner interested in starting a new upholstery business. A motion was made and passed to prepare a letter for the homeowner stating there’s access to her address on Echo Narrows Road, off Swamp Road.
Overnight parking was another concern addressed at the meeting. No permission had been requested or granted to someone who had placed a camper in a township parking lot with a “For Sale” sign. The owner was contacted, and the camper was removed. Discussion then turned to the Wayside Rest Area and other township properties. “People can’t find places to camp,” Tomsich said. Ideas were discussed on how to fix or prevent people camping overnight at the Wayside Rest area. “We could put up a sign that says, ‘No overnight camping’,” Supervisor Chuck Tekautz pointed out, but he added that the wayside rest is for the purpose of not having tired motorists on the road.
The board also discussed creating an ordinance regarding overnight parking. Chairman Tomsich suggested no overnight parking without prior approval. Supervisor Dostert added, “That’s an agenda item for another day. We’ll straighten out all our summer problems in the winter.”

Police report
Police Chief Dan Reing reported that July was another busy month. Officer James Vukad, formerly of the Chisholm Police Department, joined the force to fill the opening left by Officer Burger, who moved to Arizona. Chief Reing reported that ATV complaints are up. Officers continue to remind kids to have their registration with them and to wear helmets. The department investigated a burglary at Iron Ore bar. Reing reports thinking it was kids based on size of the point of entry. There were three reports of thefts – two of which were catalytic converters, a report of vandalism graffiti, and a tire punctured by knife. Other citations issued in July included: one no proof of insurance, one no seatbelt, three speeding citations, one driving with a revoked license. In addition, there was one arrest made for DWI that included an impaired driver traveling down a one-way street with numerous pedestrians present.

Other business
In other business, the town board:
• Heard that the fire department voted to approve Detton Koski for training officer to replace Cade Gornick, who resigned from the force.
• Made a resolution to accept donations from Tower-Soudan Agency for the 4th of July picnic and Your Boat Club who provided use of a side by side for police over Fourth of July weekend and events.
• Discussed short-term rentals and their growing prevalence in the area. They will check with St. Louis County for more information on current county ordinances pertaining to short term rentals.
• Heard an update on storm damage from Dianna Sunsdahl. “The county wants us to download an app to upload pictures. You upload pics and GPS locates where it’s (the reported damage) at.”
• Heard that maintenance staff had the docks and boardwalks in at McKinley Park.
• A special board meeting will be held on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 11 a.m. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 25 at noon.
• Heard an update on infrastructure projects, including Spring Road, Poplar Street and Church Street projects. These still have to be designed and put out for bids which may happen this fall. Chairman Tomsich pointed out that some projects may wind up getting done next year. “Even if we put it out for bid, I doubt we’d get any work done on it this year.” He added the same may be true of the Stuntz Bay project that is ongoing.

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