To the editor,
Ranier residents: Decisions are being considered that may impact you.
Last year, Ranier zoning approved the Cantilever Distillery and Hotel on the corner across from Loonies, opposite Rainy Lake Grill. The recommendations of the committee, based on input and a petition, went to the Ranier Council for approval. The only longstanding and unresolved issue remaining: Parking.
The (Minnesota Department of Natural Resources) owns the lot next to the distillery. About 20 years ago, the land was cleared, a house was moved and a boat ramp was located next to the Rainy Lake dock. The parking lot was intended for vehicles that utilized the boat ramp.
Various plans were floated by a steering committee: safe harbor, marina at the Rainy Lake dock with 300-foot dock for the boat traffic to Ranier. The ramp would need to go. Problem: Parking.
Suggestions: Take part of Ranier Beach for a ramp, utilize city property along “old highway 11” for parking, boat cleaning; locate a boat ramp at the park off Main Street on Rainy Lake; consider lake access next to Lakeview Cabins. Residents were outspoken in opposition. Parking was put on hold.
The DNR lot and ramp next to the Rainy Lake public dock just doesn’t go away. They need to be replaced for that parking lot to be available for businesses.
Ranier, a city divided by 25 to 30 trains each day, includes the lake side and the river side. Now, a $200,000 grant has been given to Ranier. The committee again met, proposed a new plan: Boat ramp at Seven Oaks Park by the Rainy River public dock. This will ensure that safety — now a concern at the current lake public dock — can be addressed. The loop from Duluth Street — which can now accommodate 22 parking spaces — down around to the public dock, Seven Oaks Park and back up the 20-foot alley/street can become a one-way street. Parking for trailers, and a cleaning station can occur in the city-owned property behind the community building removing the tennis courts.
There is a boat ramp at Pat Roche landing a mere one-half mile or so up river. The Ranier Rapids is not considered to be a safety concern. A wonderful and safe solution, said the steering committee.
DNR parking lot? Parking resolved: There will be 32 spaces available for use by businesses since the boat ramp will be relocated.
I am unaware of any accidents in the 20 years of the DNR lot and this boat landing. If safety is a concern, there must have been consideration to making that area a one-way street.
I propose the boat ramp remain where it is. Finstad Lane be made one-way and a parking lot be provided by buying land further away so the DNR parking lot can be made available to the businesses in the area.
A problem on the lake side of the tracks does not need be resolved by creating a problem on the river side of the tracks.