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City and county compile wish list

The Two Harbors City Council and the Lake County Board met Monday to discuss a grant application they are working on together.

The two entities are both trying to secure a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant that could be used for various transportation projects in the area.

A laundry list, created last week, that County Commissioner Brad Jones referred to as something like his 5-year-old's Christmas wish list, was added to at a council meeting.

"We are not going to be greedy," City Councilor Mary Henjum Rosati said.

Among the projects added to the list is the almost complete rebuilding of Sixth and Ninth avenues.

One of the proposed major projects is one that would improve Highway 61 between Two Harbors and the Silver Creek Cliff Tunnel. The grant money could also go toward a Silver Creek project that would provide the area with city sewer and water.

Other items on the list currently include: a new road access to downtown Two Harbors from Highway 61 to Eighth Avenue which would be a connection for the marina; various improvements to the Safe Routes to School program; relocation of the welcome center and establishment of a trail center in Two Harbors on the west side of town and building a Northern Lights Express rail station and maintenance facility.

Some city councilors and commissioners are planning on going out to Washington D.C. in the coming weeks to visit with Rep. Jim Oberstar, along with other Minnesota politicians to discuss the TIGER grant application.

The paperwork for the grant, which would pay for 100 percent of a project, is due by Sept. 15.

Some councilors and commissioners have indicated the chances of getting the grant are relatively slim.

Two Harbors Development Commission notes:

- There was a discussion of the Two Harbors Development Commission purchasing the VFW building in town. "(The local) VFW is in dire times," said City Councilor Jason Kuettel, about the VFW's current financial situation.

The discussion was tabled.

- A request for a proposal to acquire a consultant, and get the funds to pay for such a consultant has been brought forth in order to organize a Two Harbors Economic Development Response Team (the THDC). The new structure could include the mayor, city administration, an executive director and four at-large people from the community. The city council took over the THDC in February to facilitate a development deal for the business Bodies in Balance.