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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Breitung eyes grant funding for several projects

Stephanie Ukkola
Posted 9/15/21

SOUDAN- Breitung Township has plans for improvements this coming year, lots of plans. Docks, rinks, playgrounds, streets, trails, and infrastructure all are on the township’s radar. At a …

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Breitung eyes grant funding for several projects

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SOUDAN- Breitung Township has plans for improvements this coming year, lots of plans. Docks, rinks, playgrounds, streets, trails, and infrastructure all are on the township’s radar. At a special board meeting Sept. 8, the board reviewed current projects, grant proposals to fund future projects, and other plans.
Recreation
The recreation committee reported that they were seeking $1,500 from the Tower Fireman’s Relief Association as partial funding to turn the Margaret Lilya Pavilion at the Soudan Park into a small skating rink for beginning skaters this winter. The TFRA meeting was held later the same day and the committee received $1,200, the entirety of the TFRA fund balance.
The committee is working with an architect from JPJ Engineering to create a plan to update the rink, warming shack, playground and soccer field. Grant funding will be sought from a variety of sources including DNR Outdoor Recreation, IRRR Culture and Tourism, and MN Power.
The board has updates to McKinley Park with a DNR Outdoor Recreation Grant in its sights, including dock replacement, playground updates, benches, tables, and landscaping.
Repairs and updates
Chairman Tim Tomsich reported that he has been working on IRRR Streetscapes and Culture and Tourism grants to get funding for a variety of work around town including repair of the town hall siren, leveling of the Cty. Rd. 697 entrance sign, safety improvements, and installation of benches on Main Street and Church Street.
The township is working on repairing and updating the bike trail from the Soudan wastewater ponds down to McKinley Park Campground. An application to the IRRR Regional Trails Program for $162,500 has been submitted.
The 4th and South St. sewer projects, funded by IRRR, CBDG and the township, are scheduled to get underway on Sept. 20. Maintenance director Tom Gorsma said that eight residents will update their personal sewer lines during the township sewer line replacement on 4th Ave. The water board is offering financing for the residents of that street of up to $2,400. The loan payment would be added to their water bill over the next four years.
Police update
Clerk Dianna Suns-dahl reported that the background check on police chief finalist Daniel Reing came back that day, Sept. 8. Township officials had not yet had a chance to review the file but will make a hiring decision at the next township meeting. Supervisor Chuck Tekautz and clerk Dianna Sunsdahl have been communicating with city of Tower councilors Joe Morin and Dave Setterberg about the possibility of Tower contracting police services from Breitung again.
“The first year is going to be experimental,” said Tekautz citing the changes in the newly re-formed police department. This department will likely only have one full-time officer, with no on-call time and one squad. The possibility of additional part-time officers has not been discussed yet.
The board is reviewing their Emergency Action Plan and will make updates to it.
In other business, the board:
• Increased the fire department’s PERA annual pension benefit to $2,500.
• Agreed to schedule a series of classes at the Breitung Community Center for fire department trainees. The classes are open to members of any fire department.

“I consider us lucky to have the fire department we have. You don’t realize how important it is until you need it,” said Supervisor Tekautz.
• Accepted an estimate from Amptek Electric to do $1,880 of maintenance this spring at McKinley Park Campground. There was also an estimate for a $19,800 project to update electrical hookups for 11 campsites this year that the board took no action on.
• Approved a quote from Calgaro and Sons of Iron for removal of dying trees on 4th Ave. for $2,600.
• Set Big Truck Night for Thursday, Sept. 30 from 4-6 p.m. Breitung and Tower will showcase their emergency and maintenance vehicles at the Soudan Park for young children and their families to enjoy. The event is put on the Tower-Soudan Elementary School’s Early Childhood Family Education and Breitung Township, and hot dogs will be served.
The next board meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 23 at noon.

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