City prepares for purchase of county land for Bear Center

by Nick Wognum

Whether or not the proposed North American Bear Center site east of Ely becomes reality will face another test this Tuesday.<BR><BR>The St. Louis County Board will be reviewing selling land to the city of Ely which would then deal with the NABC directly.<BR><BR>City Attorney Larry Klun briefed the city council on the issue at last Tuesday’s regular meeting.<BR><BR>Klun said some new issues have popped up including two private property owners who have been using part of the county property. <BR><BR>Mayor Frank Salerno said there are even some private structures on the county land.<BR><BR>“The county recognizes that,” said Klun. “I’m exploring the option of the city managing those parcels and obtaining the administrative burden from the county and getting a 10 percent discount on the purchase price.” <BR><BR>Klun said the value of the land will be revealed when the county board meets on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. in Gilbert. <BR><BR>Klun said the city’s arrangement with NABC calls for the city to end up with no obligations and he would expect the same situation with the two private landowners. <BR><BR>In other business the council:<BR><BR>• Approved a proclamation for Saturday, Oct. 23 to be Polka Pal Don Day in honor of WELY Saturday morning DJ Don Micklich. <BR><BR>• Approved a request from Patti Zupancich of Ely Community Resources to reinstate the city’s funding to the full amount after a one-year partial reduction.<BR><BR>• Thanked citizen John Esse for the research he did independently on the proposed Joint Garage Project. Esse visited other projects, met with officials and provided the city with a written report.<BR><BR>• Appointed Salerno as the alternate to the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority.<BR><BR>• Approved Police Chief Archie Manning’s request to pursue a grant for Homeland Security purposes. The money would be used for overtime costs. “This would greatly enhance our patrol in the area,” said Manning.<BR><BR>• Will look at options to give the building inspector more hours, including possibly the plumbing inspector duties.<BR><BR>• Voted to move forward with hiring a private contractor to clean the city-owned building that houses Navigant Travel in the Business Park. <BR><BR>• Voted to reopen negotiations with Navigant to have the company pay for the cleaning costs.<BR><BR>• Approved an agreement with Ely Community Access Television to turn over equipment for public access broadcasting and up to $8,000 in funding from the fees assessed to cable customers. <BR><BR>• Voted to sell Ted Ciriacy a lot in East Spaulding for $12,900 with up to two years to complete a home to qualify for financial incentives.<BR><BR>• Approved a lease with the Ely Chamber of Commerce for land it occupies at the intersection of Hwy. 1 and Hwy. 169.<BR><BR>• Appointed Salerno and council members Dan Przybylski and Mark Zupec to a committee to work on federal funding for the proposed Joint Garage Facility. The $6.8 million project includes the city’s share of $2.8 million.<BR><BR>• Appointed Betty Wilzbacher and Janet Twohey to the Planning Commission to fill two vacancies. Gordon Sheddy had also applied. <BR><BR>• Voted to refer two proposed changes to city ordinances in reference to zoning back to the Planning Commission for further study. <BR><BR>• Closed the meeting to discuss negotiations with the union that represents the police officers.<BR><BR>