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Lake County Past: Nov. 24


Council turns down Edna G. bids

Plans to approve project bids that would have placed the tug Edna G. on land for permanent display were defeated. The 4-2 vote ended an ongoing 12-year discussion by the council and the city's waterfront development committee to decide the fate of the historic 100-year-old tug.

Representatives from Lakehead Construction, the lone bidder for the on-land siting of the tug, was on hand to present a revised bid plan for the project. Lakehead reduced the cost of the bids for phase one of the project to $225,700, which would have included costs of removing the tug from Agate Bay, renovation and placing it on display in Van Hoven Park.

It was estimated that finishing phases for the project would have cost an additional $100,000.

Before the vote, Lakehead engineers said alternatives such as renovating the tug, leaving it in the water and building a new docking site could be every bit as expensive as putting it on land.

Council member Chet Bianco said the time to deal with the issue had come. He reminded the council that the waterfront development committee had researched the issue for many years and the vote could be the last hurrah for the tug, saying monies were already earmarked for the project.

The IRRRB has granted $100,000 to the city for removal of the tug and the Two Harbors development commission planned to direct $175,000 to the project.

Mayor Wayne Sletten also reminded the council that future IRRRB public works monies may be tougher to come by under the direction of new commissioner Jim Gustafson.

Councilor Paul Iversen said he felt the tug could be renovated and stay in the water for the same price.

Councilor Jon Jacoby said in the past month a lot of people had told him they didn't feel that kind of money needed to be spent. He thanked the waterfront committee but worried the project might be an open-ended well for money, citing the unknown costs for finishing the project.

Councilors Larson, Jacoby, Iversen and Clark voted to turn down the Lakehead bid, Bianco and Giacomini voted for approval. Councilor Robin Glaser abstained.

After the vote, Bianco told the council: "The tug is now yours." He also said the council did an injustice to the tug by not accepting the bids.

Iversen later entertained a motion asking that the IRRRB grant requested be modified to include sending the tug to Fraser Shipyards for renovation. He also asked that the Minnesota Historical Society be contacted about keeping the tug in the water. That motion passed by a 4-2 vote.