This week I spent three days with the House Capital Investment (Bonding) Committee in Northeast Minnesota receiving input on bonding proposals.
The state funds major capital improvements for our state capital, state agency buildings, highways, state college facilities, state parks and trails, state historical society facilities and local government facilities of regional significance.
On Tuesday morning we left Saint Paul for the Moose Lake Corrections Facility, which houses over 1,000 inmates in a medium security prison. The facility was converted from an already very old state hospital to a Department of Corrections facility a number of years ago.
We continued north, looking at projects the Duluth Port Authority, City of Duluth, University of Minnesota Duluth, St. Louis County and the State Historical Society are proposing. Wednesday we received input on the Spilt Rock Lighthouse, Silver Bay and Grand Marais Harbor upgrades, Mesabi and Hibbing College facilities, city wastewater projects, and the DNR Forest Fire Base at the Hibbing Airport.
Thursday we were in Grand Rapids looking at a Civic Center expansion proposal and the Tioga Rec Area near Cohasset. Then it was on to the Hill City/Swatara area.
For several years I have been working to secure bonding funds to add 58 miles of trail to the existing Northwoods Regional ATV Trail System. The expansion would be located on the east side of Mille Lacs Lake. The Mille Lacs-Malmo East Loop would connect Malmo, and Glen to the South Soo Line trail which is part of the backbone of the Northwoods Regional ATV Trail system.
We took the committee via ATV to the Willow River crossing so they could see what a truly environmentally friendly ATV trail looks like. We crossed the Willow River and surrounding wetlands over an “Aitkin County” designed structure that leaves the wetlands virtually undisturbed. My personal thanks to the great team effort by the Aitkin County Land Department, our local ATV/Snowmobile Clubs, ATV Association of Minnesota and the Corner Club that made this visit a success.
For some in the group this was their first ATV ride. They came away with a very favorable impression of how well we take care of the environment up here, while still allowing motorized access to many remote parts of Northeast Minnesota.
Big football game at Aitkin tonight, our friends from Crosby-Ironton will be in town!