Ranier lift bridge

A $760,650 state grant for construction of a dock on Rainy Lake in Ranier has been tentatively approved, the Ranier City Council heard Tuesday when it met in committee.

Tom Dougherty, chairman of a steering committee established for the dock project, told the council that the Legislative-Citizens Committee on Minnesota Resources has tentatively selected 77 projects in the state to recommend to the Legislature for funding.

Included in that list is Ranier's project, known as the safe harbor/ transient dock, that would accommodate boats longer than 26 feet and is aimed at increasing public access for boat recreation.

Dougherty told the council the LCCMR is expected to meet again on the funding in November, when the city expects to be formally notified if the money has been approved.

The grants recommended for funding by the LCCMR come from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, established following voter approval of a constitutional amendment in 1988. The money in the Trust Fund is generated by the Minnesota State Lottery.

Should the ENRTF grant be approved, it would be used to match a $1.5 million federal Boating Infrastructure Grant Program, or BIGP, the city will seek to assist in the dock project.

The council expects to be notified of the success of the BIGP application in March or April.

During an open forum, resident Sue Swendsen reiterated her opposition to the boat ramp project, again asking for a public hearing on both the ramp and dock projects.

She noted Dougherty failed to mention his business interests in the dock project in a column published Aug. 10 in The Journal. Dougherty and his family operate Rainy Lake Houseboats, and Swendsen said those houseboats would use the dock.

John Bruggeman asked about whether a boat ramp proposed for the city's Seven Oaks Park would move forward without the dock project.

There is no need to have a boat launch if you don't have the dock, Swendsen said.

Mayor Dennis Wagner said the existing boat ramp at the end of Spruce Street has been deemed obsolete by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, because of additional traffic in the area. That boat ramp would be closed.

The city has already received a $200,000 LCCMR grant to establish the dock and some parking at Seven Oaks, with additional parking behind the Ranier Community Building, where there are now tennis courts.

Wagner said a meeting to further discuss the two projects would be scheduled when plans and designs are more complete, with councilors noting the funding approvals play a role in their progression.

For more information on the projects, see the city's website at https://raniermn.govoffice2.com/index.asp?SEC=9E1351F0-6F0C-479E-87AC-A6369DED1F70&Type=B_BASIC

Other business

In other business, the council plans to recommend the city participate in an $84,700 planning project to be led by Arrowhead Regional Development Commission ahead of two tentative pavement projects proposed for the mid-2020s. The council is expected to provide $2,500 as its share, as requested; International Falls City Council approved spending $5,000 for its share.

The projects may involve Highway 11 east and west in downtown International Falls. Andy Hubley, of ARDC, who is leading the project, has told local governments that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has asked the agency to consider all aspects of the area’s transportation system in order to ensure the scopes of the projects don’t miss anything and that community needs are being met.

Other funding sources for the planning process include $20,000 from ARDC's Transportation Planning Agreement, leaving the remaining $52,200 to be funded by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The council also agreed to recommend for approval at the Aug. 20 regular council meeting the following:

  • Accept the July 2019 Ranier Municipal Liquor Store statement, following a report by Jenn Seegert, manager. She reported an increased profit, prompting kudos from the council. The statement showed an $8,009 net profit for July, compared to a $5,799 net profit reported in July 2018. Year to date profits are $28,852 compared to $22,989 for the same time period last year.
  • Accept the public works report from Nick Sears, supervisor. During discussion Tuesday, Sears said an issue with water pressure on a new 2-inch water line on a portion County Road 93 appears to be fixed, with Wagner suggesting the road be repaired where a break was found during installation of the new line.

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