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Mayor discusses EDA woes

At Wednesday’s Grand Marais City Council meeting, Mayor Sue Hakes told the council the group formed to look into alleviating the financial problems of the Economic Development Authority, of which Hakes is a part, had met. She said the group, which consists of city and county officials, is trying to put the EDA’s problems into perspective. Hakes said the EDA’s financial problems need to be considered in three stages.

“It became apparent really quickly there were some immediate problems that need to be solved; some middle range problems that need to be solved and some long term,” said Hakes.

“They don’t have any money to pay the bills, or Matt, the director…so how are they even going to function? The midterm problem is resolving the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) issue. And then to look long term at what the EDA should be doing. Should they remain the same? Should they just go away? What do we really want them to do?” She added that a lot of ideas have been tossed out and there are no solutions right now.

Hakes added that the group is considering all manner of solutions to the EDA’s problems, including the sale of Superior National Golf Course.

“I know that’s raised some questions in the community,” she said. “That’s just one on a list of several solutions.” She added that no decisions have yet been made.

Councilor Jan Sivertson said she thought the sale of the golf course was an extreme suggestion; however City Administrator Mike Roth, who has been attending the discussion sessions with Hakes, said he thought it was a good thing that all options were on the table.

Roth said, “I would hope that any suggestion we have is going to have to be evaluated on, first of all, what problem we think we’re solving and does it solve the problem long term?”

Hakes ended the discussion by emphasizing the joint partnership between the city and county in solving the EDA’s problems.

“Everyone has to look at their part in solving the problems,” said Hakes. “How can we be a part of the solution…and the city’s role is to look at that long-term strategy and be more pro-active and be more involved in giving direction.”

The city will continue to wrestle with EDA issues in both the short and long term.