North Shore Adventure Park breaks ground
Since 1956 a gas station and convenience store occupied the entrance to Silver Bay at the corner of Highway 61 and Outer Drive. On Monday, that structure was torn down to make way for a new business opportunity for a four person group planning to develop an adventure park along the North Shore.
The first step in creation of the adventure park was demolition the existing structures as part of the initial clean up. Demolition was made possible with the help of a grant from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in the amount of $147,000 and a cost share grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) in the amount of $50,000.
"As far as investment goes we are responsible for approximately 25 percent of the IRRRB grant cost," said co-owner Phil Huston.
Huston is part of a group of four investors including Kali Properties LLC that plan to turn the site into a world class outdoor recreational facility.
The current clean-up will continue with the removal of contaminated soil left over from leaking underground gas tanks and oil spills. Huston said there are currently about five hot spots where contamination still exists.
"We are still in negotiations with the city of Silver Bay to purchase 3 acres of land from the city as part of a development agreement, but I think we will work it out," Huston said.
Huston added that he is in negotiation with the Minnesota Department of Transportation for an additional 3 acres along Highway 61.
The investors believe that upon final completion of the project would create approximately 15 to 20 jobs and possibly create other economic opportunities in the city.
The first phase of this operation will be the clean-up and getting the climbing rock named "Eleanor" exposed and prepared for climbing during Bay Days on July 7-9. According to Huston, Phase 2 will include a zipline and climbing tower in the shape of Minnesota. This project is expected to be completed around late fall or early winter of this year.
"Phase 3 will be a really big deal; it will involve an aerial rope course which will be on what is now city property," Huston said.
The building which will be about a 6,000 square foot facility will be constructed later as property concerns are met.
"This has been a fascinating and fluid experience working with the city and the community," Huston said. "The support has been of high quality and I hope to put Silver Bay on the map."