Dayton Proposes $75M Funding for Northland Projects

Posted at: 01/15/2014 10:13 AM
Updated at: 01/15/2014 5:41 PM

The City of Duluth's efforts to renovate the NorShor Theatre would get a $6.95 million boost under Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding proposal.
The City of Duluth's efforts to renovate the NorShor Theatre would get a $6.95 million boost under Gov. Mark Dayton's bonding proposal.

Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing more than $75 million for projects in the Northland as part of his bonding package.

The $986 million package includes funding for renovations at Duluth's NorShor Theater, a pipeline at Spirit Mountain, a new event center at Giants Ridge, renovations at Lake Superior College and Bemidji State University, and projects at two airports.  Dayton says the total package would create over 27,000 jobs in Minnesota.

"My proposals will put thousands of Minnesotans to work throughout our state," said Governor Dayton in a prepared statement. "This bill gives priority to projects that are ready to go. Many of them have been delayed for years and are crucial to revitalizing downtown business centers, modernizing MnSCU and U of M buildings and classrooms, and improving parks, roads, and local infrastructure."

Any funding would also have to be approved by the legislature, which is likely to make changes to the package.  Many of the projects included in Dayton's package have failed to receive funding in previous years.

The governor's office provided the following summaries of Northland projects included in the proposal:

AEOA office building: $2 million for predesign of a new office building. The building will house the Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency and Range Mental Health. The total project cost is estimated at $20 million.

Bemidji State University:  $13.79 million to renovate, remodel and demolish several buildings on this campus. Underutilized space will be transformed into state-of-the-art classrooms and multifunctional spaces for the Business and Accounting Departments. A substantial deferred maintenance backlog will also be eliminated.

Big Lake Area Sanitary Sewer District: $4.5 million for the design and construction of a low pressure sanitary sewer collection system around Big Lake in Carlton County. The total project cost is estimated at $14 million.

Giants Ridge: $4.995 million to build a new event center to replace the existing chalet at Giants Ridge. Dayton's proposal says the event center would be a multi-use, year-round attraction intended to support area tourism and local residents. IRRRB funds would match state bonding money.

International Falls Airport: $2 million for the International Falls–Koochiching County Airport Commission to be used as the local match to federal funds to construct a new airline terminal facility located in International Falls. The total project cost is $11.3 million.

Lake Superior College: $5.266 million to reconfigure, remodel, and renovate classrooms and labs in the Allied Health and Science programs. Space will be better utilized, increasing classroom capacity. The building will be more efficient and sustainable.

NorShor Theatre: $6.95 million for the Duluth Economic Development Authority for renovations to the NorShor Arts Center. The state bond proceeds would be used specifically to facilitate skywalk and handicapped accessibility and provide public access to the newly renovated NorShor Arts Center. The total project cost is $22.35 million.

Northeast Higher Education District: $3.344 million to design, renovate, furnish, and equip space to meet various workforce training needs. This project impacts a total of 18 classroom/lab spaces on four campuses: Itasca, Hibbing, Rainy River, and Vermilion. In addition to the renovations, obsolete space will be demolished on the Hibbing campus

Range Regional Airport: $5 million for the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority to demolish the existing terminal and to construct a new passenger terminal and boarding bridge, and associated equipment at the Range Regional Airport. Total project cost is estimated at $10.1 million.

Red Lake School District: $13.491 million to bring district facilities to current education standards. Of this amount, $5.491 million will complete construction of the Red Lake High School & Middle School cafeteria, and $8 million will complete renovation and construction of Red Lake Elementary School.

Town of Rice Lake: $1.168 million for the East Calvary Water Main Replacement to construct and replace a water main. The total project cost is estimated at $2.467 million.

Spirit Mountain:$3.4 million to purchase land and construct a water system that will deliver water to the Spirit Mountain ski facility for snowmaking purposes. The total project cost is estimated at $4.5 million.

Virginia industrial park: $1.5 million for the City of Virginia for extending infrastructure and improving the storm water system at the Northern Heights Industrial Park. The total project cost is estimated at $3.05 million.

Voyageurs/BWCAW water treatment: $8.567 million for Koochiching County to construct sanitary sewage treatment facilities for the purpose of cleaning the waters in and around Voyageurs National Park and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness areas. The total project cost is approximately $17.9 million and will be located in both Koochiching County and St. Louis County.

The complete list of proposals can be seen at http://mn.gov/governor/images/20140115_bonding_narative.pdf.