Silver Bay celebrates Black Beach Campground groundbreaking
The city of Silver Bay celebrated the groundbreaking for the Black Beach Municipal Campground project Monday, April 15, after nearly five years of anticipation.
City officials, county board members, state representatives and residents gathered on the corner of Mensing Drive and West Lakeview Drive for the ceremonial digging with golden shovels.
The facility will be a 49-site campground with 30-amp electric service in all sites, picnic tables, fire rings, restroom and bathhouse facilities, a playground and access to walking trails that will lead to the beach.
Black Beach's unique color was caused by the dumping of taconite tailings into Lake Superior by Reserve Mining, but time and nature have restored the beach's health while it has retained its black color.
"I'm excited about this because we need to have a stop in Silver Bay for the tourists when they're heading up the North Shore," District 3 State Rep. Rob Ecklund said. "It's one of the heaviest travel destinations in this state. So to have this campground tie-in with all the trails and such we have going on in this area, I definitely see it as a positive."
Grants from the state of Minnesota and the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board are funding 91 percent of the $2.5 million project.
The city began pursuing the creation of a campground in 2014 following public surveys conducted during the creation of the city's comprehensive plan.
In May 2015, the Silver Bay City Council accepted a $125,000 grant from the IRRRB for the initial stages of creating a campground at Black Beach. From there it was a continual process of pursuing funding and developing plans with the help of a campground committee until the project was earmarked for $1.7 million in the 2018 bonding bill.
"We have so many to thank for their help in getting us to this stage," City Administrator Lana Fralich said, "from our state representatives, to the county board, the IRRRB, Northshore Mining, our campground committee, our City Council, and our residents and businesses for their support. This project is wouldn't be possible without everyone working together to make it happen."
Site work construction was recently granted to Grand Rapids-based TNT Aggregates. Work is expected to begin immediately and continue through the summer with the goal of being open in time for summer 2020.