Rogers pitches new Bear Center site to Morse town board

by Nick Wognum

The patriarch of the North American Bear Center was at the Morse town board meeting last Tuesday night, informing them of a new site for construction.<BR><BR>“The Bear Center is trying to get some property just outside of town to build a facility just about like the Wolf Center,” said Lynn Rogers. “The public purpose would be to educate people about bears.”<BR><BR>Rogers said the property, just a half-mile west of the Ely city limits on the south side of Highway 169 is currently owned by the county. He said a conveyance to the Town of Morse may be in the works. <BR><BR>“We would help you raise the money to buy the property from St. Louis County and then a miracle would occur and you would convey it to the Bear Center,” said Rogers. “That would be a free conveyance but it wouldn’t cost the Town of Morse anything.”<BR><BR>Rogers said the Bear Center has abandoned the idea of purchasing the Bisonette property located further west on 169 because of the remodeling costs of the structure there.<BR><BR>“We could build a bigger building exactly for our needs for less money,” said Rogers.<BR><BR>The parcel has 20 acres on the south side of the highway with 13.5 acres on the north side. <BR><BR>Rogers said things could move fast once the property is transferred.<BR><BR>“I would really consider a ground breaking ceremony like weeks after we got the property,” said Rogers. “We have enough to start construction.” <BR><BR>The board said they would look into the legal issues regarding the Bear Center’s request. <BR><BR>In other business the board:<BR><BR>• Voted to spend up to $750 for the township’s share of phase one for a study of a proposed joint garage facility with the two counties, MnDOT and the city of Ely. The board will meet on the issue on April 20 at 4 p.m.<BR><BR>• Heard from Assessor Ed Latva that the township’s property valuation assessments came in at 90.2 percent of the state ratio, avoiding a mandatory increase in values.<BR><BR>• Voted to proceed with a road exchange with St. Louis County. The township would get Somero, Tek and North White Road in exchange for the county taking over the township’s portion of the Cloquet Line. <BR><BR>• Voted 2-1 to conduct a performance evaluation on April 22 at 6 p.m. of town clerk Keiko Aylsworth after she requested more pay. Cersine voted no. “I’d just give her a raise based on the hours she works and be done with it,” said Cersine.<BR><BR>• Approved changes in wages for various township employees, including: Assessor from $1,350 per month to $1,400 while treasurer stayed at $275 per month but extra general services for the treasurer increased from $7 per hour to $9 per hour. <BR><BR>• Recessed the meeting until Tuesday, April 20 at 4 p.m. <BR><BR>