Revitalizing MN and bringing much needed jobs into our communities

I am pleased to be one of Build.MN’s first contributors. Bonding is vital to maintaining and improving infrastructure throughout Minnesota, and that’s why I’ve made this fall’s bonding tours a priority in my schedule.

On the first bonding tour this fall I got the opportunity to show my Senate colleagues many of the important bonding projects up on the Range. From updating a convention center in Virginia to adding onto an airport in Hibbing that has simply outgrown its capacity – to water main improvements projects and a new fire hall – the Range is full of deserving projects.

Check out some of the projects that are requesting money in District 6 – projects that, if funded, will help revitalize and bring much needed jobs into our communities.

Highway 53

The Highway 53 project is requesting $22.2 million from the state to help acquire land and pre-design storm water relocation, utilities relocation and the creation of trails for bikes, pedestrians and ATV’s. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is required to move Highway 53 at the state’s expense due to the expansion of taconite mining at United Taconite due to the easement the state executed in the 1960’s. Now, it’s a matter of finding which alternate route is the best option, because this project needs to get done.

Virginia Miner’s Memorial Convention Center

This more than 50-year old recreation facility is in need of updates and repairs. The Miners Memorial Convention Center is requesting $7.7 million to help renovate and add on to this center that serves as a regional hub for the area. The renovations would bring this building back to some of its former glory including serving as a wedding and banquet hall in addition to serving as a hockey arena. The Range is in desperate need of a modern large-capacity space like this and there is no doubt it will be a popular and well-visited site if funding is approved.

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AEOA & Range Mental Health Joint Building

The Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency (AEOA) and the Range Mental Health Center (RMHC) – are the two largest non-governmental human service agencies in the Arrowhead region. The two have partnered together and are requesting $20 million to build a new 100,000 square foot shared building. The proposed site would be located in the City of Virginia and would provide a one-stop shop for Iron Range citizens seeking supportive services. The new building would replace the current 1907 building which was originally designed as an elementary school.

Chisholm Municipal Services Building

The City of Chisholm is requesting $2.7 million in funding to design and construct a new 45,500 square foot municipal services building which will house the fire hall, public works and school bus garage. The current buildings that house these three services are all old, undersized and not energy efficient. A new facility would serve a large geographic area and will be a cooperative effort between the Chisholm School District, City of Chisholm, Town of Balkan and Unorganized Township 59-21.

Range Regional Airport

The Range Regional Airport located in Hibbing is requesting $5 million to complete a badly needed expansion. The construction plan is divided into three phases – with a total bonding request of $12.3 million over the course of two bonding bills. The airport was built in 1978, prior to the new flights and baggage needs and prior to vital operational space that’s now required by the Department of Homeland Security.

Giants Ridge

Giants Ridge is requesting $4.9 million in bonding funds to build a new events center which will provide a multi-use year round venue that supports statewide tourism, state ski meets, local events and much more. This project is shovel ready and will replace a 30-year old facility with aging and energy inefficient infrastructure. The Giants Ridge Recreation Area has grown from a local ski hill attracting day visitors within a 50-mile radius, to a four-season recreation area attracting more than 100,000 guests each year.

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Eveleth Water Main

The Eveleth water main improvement project is asking for just over $2 million in appropriations in order to design and construct a water main for the St. Mary’s Lake Development project. This project will provide a safe, reliable municipal water source for residents currently on wells, correct the current substandard fire flow capacity at the Eveleth-Virginia Regional airport, and create an opportunity for increasing property values and tax capacities. The total project cost is $3.05 million.

St. Louis Rescue Squad

Saint Louis County is looking for $837,000 for buildings to house the Saint Louis County Sheriff’s Volunteer Rescue squad. The money will help with the remodel and reuse of the existing Saint Louis Public Works Building in Virginia as well as the construction of a cold storage building in Canosia Township. This hard-working rescue squad was formed as an all-volunteer unit in 1958 and serves the expansive Arrowhead region. The rescue squad is known regionally and nationally for its expertise in canine search technique, underwater technology for recovery operations, technical woods search/rescue technique and more. The total project cost is $1.675 million.

City of Biwabik

The City of Biwabik is requesting $4 million in state bonding dollars to help defray the cost of reconstructing a large portion of the City’s municipal water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer and streets. Biwabik’s infrastructure is more than 60 years old and is in deteriorated condition and demands frequent repairs. The City wants to make these changes to help reduce its inflow and infiltration to its wastewater treatment facility – part of these improvements are also being done in order to add new residents and businesses to the city’s system. The total project cost is $8 million.

City of Nashwauk

The City of Nashwauk is requesting $510,000 in bonding funds to help predesign, design and construct a new industrial/residential development located in Nashwauk and Itasca County. The project, called the Bozich addition is requesting money because of the development of Essar Steel’s iron ore plant nearby and the huge impact it will have on the area. The City has very limited lot availability for both industrial and residential development – and this project will create both opportunities in an area north of Nashwauk that the City recently annexed. The total project cost sits at just over $1 million.

Senator David Tomassoni
David Tomassoni represents District 6, which includes portions of Itasca and St. Louis counties in the northeastern part of the state.

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