Two Harbors city councilors were asked to repeat history at their regular meeting Monday, Oct. 14. Derrick Passe, project coordinator of the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), asked the council to consider funding a stormwater management plan.
“Back in 2000, the city of Two Harbors applied for and received a grant from the Lake Superior Coastal program to do a stormwater management plan for the city,” Passe said. “I’m hoping for history to repeat itself.”
The 2000 stormwater management plan was completed in 2001. Passe gave the councilors a brief overview of the projects funded in that plan. Projects included creation of rain gardens, placement of above- and below-ground basins and more. The total amount of funds spent on the plan were roughly $130,000, but very little of those funds came from the city’s coffers. Most projects were funded via specific grants.
Passe asked for the city to consider making a commitment of $4,000-$10,000 to the new plan. This would enable the Lake County SWCD to make an application to the One Watershed, One Plan Clean Water Fund to completely fund the stormwater management plan for the city.
“This plan would have more of a focus on green infrastructure,” Passe said. “More plants than big basins. We’ve made some significant updates in the 20 years since the last plan.”
For example, new best practices discourage the use of basins in some areas near beaches as the water tends to heat up and encourage bacteria growth. This can lead to E.coli contamination.
“This new plan would also be a resource when looking at capital improvement plan projects,” Passe said. “There are a lot of opportunities out there for creating infrastructure.”
Mayor Chris Swanson noted the creation of a plan didn’t guarantee a commitment to implementation.
“This will give us a platform to work from,” Swanson said. “Every year we can look at our budget and what we can do. And having Soil and Water on board means, if what I’m hearing you say is correct, you’ll go out and fight for the dollars to make these projects possible.”
Passe agreed with the mayor.
The councilors didn't take action on the proposal, but passed it on for review by the city attorney and are expected to vote on it at the next council meeting Oct. 28.