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Cruikshank’s new bike shop moves forward

Kyle Farris

Local businessman Dan Cruikshank is another step closer to securing a business subsidy from the city of Two Harbors that would allow him to open a bicycle retail and rental shop on County Road 26.

A public hearing regarding the proposed subsidy at Monday’s Two Harbors City Council meeting ended in less than a minute, with no one coming forward to speak for or against the project. Cruikshank, who is seeking money from the city to offset a $200,000 shortage of funds, sat through the majority of Monday’s meeting and seemed content to let the hearing expire without addressing the council.

The city recently offered to provide Cruikshank the loan after the Two Harbors Development Fund expressed concerns over making the deal without collateral from Cruikshank. Under the current proposal, the city would borrow the money from the development fund, creating a safeguard should Cruikshank default on payments.

“The mayor and the whole city council have been really understanding,” Cruikshank said last week. He’s attempting to purchase 6.4 acres of land from the city -- a deal that was nearly finalized before an appraisal reduced the amount he could borrow from other lenders.

Should Cruikshank default, the development fund would receive at least partial reimbursement in the form of tax abatements on Cruikshank’s property and the new Castle Danger Brewery, as well as profits from any additional land sales on County Road 26.

Council President Jerry Norberg said the city also is exploring other funding options, with the hope of trimming the city’s share of the bill.

Cruikshank, who was a founder of Granite Gear and is still employed as a brand ambassador for the backpack producer, said he hopes to reach terms with the city by Sept. 1. The shop could open as soon as next spring, he has said.

The council let out a collective groan when City Attorney Steve Overhom broached the subject of utility poles and the city’s agreement with Frontier Communications.

Since February, the city has been awaiting comments from Frontier regarding an updated contract proposed by the city to address disputes over which side owns certain utility poles around Two Harbors. Overhom said Monday no comments or revisions have been submitted by Frontier, keeping the city and the telecommunication company bound by a contract that was written in the 1920s.

“There has been no progress,” Overhom said. “We’ll keeping doing what we can.”

As the city presses for an updated agreement, Lake Connections, the county-owned telecommunications provider, continues to string fiber cables up utility poles as part of the construction of its new network.

Most of the utility poles are owned by municipalities or other telecommunication companies.

A familiar face will be the new director of the Two Harbors Public Library.

Katie Sundstrom, a regular employee at the library, was named to the position by the Two Harbors Library Board this week and confirmed by the council Monday. She takes over for Michelle Monson, who will step down at the end of the month.

Councilor Roger Simonson, who was a member of the library’s interview committee, said the opening drew a group of seven applicants who were “extraordinarily well-qualified.”

 “It was one of the best groups of candidates I have ever seen,” Simonson said. “I wanted to hire all of them.”

Simonson said the committee’s recommendation of Sundstrom was unanimous.

The council indicated she accepted the offer.