Members of the Finland Snowmobile and ATV Club are looking for land to construct a maintenance building to house their groomer.
Club representatives visited the Lake County Board committee of the whole meeting in the Clair Nelson Community Center in Finland on Tuesday, Feb. 18 to continue the ongoing conversation.
"I’ve been here 28 years and in all that time we've never had a maintenance building," said Finland Snowmobile and ATV club president Leroy Teschendorf. "Right now our groomer is sitting outside and it should really be inside. Whenever we’re done grooming for the night, it should be put in a warm building to thaw out instead of sitting outside."
The club has permission to store the groomer inside the township storage building in the summer, Teschendorf said, but they struggle to find space.
"We're constantly moving other equipment to make room," Teschendorf said. "And we have nowhere to work on the equipment itself. Most of our club members have parts in their garages because we just have nowhere else to put it."
In light of this, the club is looking to build a 60-foot by 80-foot storage and maintenance facility. Teschendorf said he's already spoken with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources about renting part of the proposed garage to store their trail equipment, as well.
"And they're all for it," Teschendorf said. "But we need to settle on a location."
Teschendorf approached the county to see if it would be possible for the club to purchase or lease land for the building. Nate Eide, Lake County Land Commissioner suggested three locations near the trails: on the lot near the Finland Forestry Office, near the Finland Highway Maintenance Building or on the maintenance facility lot near the radio tower. Of the three locations, Teschendorf said the land near the radio tower would be preferable.
However, a question of whether the land could be bought or leased arose. According to county commissioner Rick Goutermont, the county can lease the land for a nominal fee, but can't donate the land unless it's to a public entity. This could possibly conflict with the club's intention to seek funding from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.
"We can double check with Nate (Eide) to make sure we're not stubbing any toes," Goutermont said. "We'll try to work with you to the extent that we can. One of our goals as a county is to continue to make ourselves known as a trail community. But we realize the heavy work that goes into maintaining them and we appreciate it when clubs step up and take that on. So we'll try to stand behind you."
No official action was taken on the trail building, but more conversations are expected in the future.