Marathon creates traffic issues
by Tom Coombe
It’s marathon weekend in Ely - and even those who aren’t running 13 or 26 miles are likely to notice.
That’s because of a series of traffic detours and parking restrictions that are in place, beginning early Saturday morning and continuing through much of the day.
Police Chief Chad Houde briefed council members about the traffic situation earlier this week.
“There will be some traffic and parking impacted not only in our community but outside the city limits,” said Houde.
The event is expected to attract hundreds of participants, who will run either the full 26.2-mile marathon of the Boundary Waters Bank Half Marathon. Some participants will even carry canoes during the event while taking part in the Ely Marathon’s unique canoe portage divisions.
Road closures for the event, both inside and outside of Ely, are as follows:
• Echo Trail - North Arm Road to Grant McMahan, 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.;
• Grant McMahan - Echo Trail to Highway 169, 8 a.m. to noon;
• Old Winton Road - Grant McMahan to West Sixth Avenue - 8 a.m. to noon;
• Cedar Lake Road/Cloquet Line - Old Winton Road to Beel Road 8 a.m. to noon;
• Pioneer Road - Grant McMahan to Miners Drive, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.;
• Miners Drive - Pioneer to 17th Avenue East, 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.;
• 17th Avenue East - Miners Drive to Camp Street, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
• Camp Street - 17th to 15th Avenue East, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
• Sheridan Street - 15th to 1st Avenue East, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
• First Avenue East - Sheridan to Harvey Street, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
• Chapman Street - First Avenue to Seventh Avenue East, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
• Harvey Street - First Avenue to 17th Avenue East, 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In addition, several no parking zones have been established along the marathon route, starting at 2 a.m. Saturday and running until 2 p.m.
The no parking zones are established, Houde told the council, “to ensure the safe travels” of marathon participants.
Detours and no parking zones will be posted, according to the police chief.
“I ask for patience,” said Houde. “It’s a long day but it’s a good event for our community.”
Starting with Friday activities at Whiteside Park and the five-kilometer Glow Run, the marathon and its associated events will bring not only hundreds of participants to Ely, but spectators and others.
The city is providing several in-kind services for the event.
“It’s an event that this community can and should be proud of,” said mayor Roger Skraba.
Up-to-date information about any emergency notifications related to the marathon can be gathered on the police department’s Facebook or Twitter accounts or by texting Elymarathon to 88877.
Police and public safety items were among the highlights of a brief council meeting this week.
Houde indicated that the police force will be fully staffed starting Monday once newly-hired officer Ryan Mahoney starts duty.
Another new officer, Daniel Mooers, came on board last week.
Houde and other police department members have assisted on the Ely school campus with dropoff and pickup at the beginning and end of each school day during the first week of school.
“It’s going good,” said Houde. “For no sidewalks, no signage, construction still going on. We’re trying to assist with the new dropoff procedures.”
Public safety night is set for Tuesday outside City Hall, with police and fire vehicles on display from 3 to 6 p.m.
K-9 police dogs from Hibbing and St. Louis County will also be present and the fire department is working on activities for children including the possibility of a junior firefighter obstacle course, according to fire chief Dave Marshall.
Marshall said the department had 13 medical calls and one fire call in the previous two weeks .
The council also approved the addition of Jesse Cornwell to the fire department, bringing total membership up to 32.
In other business, the council:
• Approved utility easements for the school campus;
• Authorized an annexation agreement with the Town of Morse that brings two lots on West Shagawa Road into the city limits.
The deal calls for a lump sum payment of $606.37 to the township to offset some future property tax revenue.
“I felt this would be easier (a lump sum payment) than to split this out over four years,” said clerk-treasurer Harold Langowski.
• Agreed to put several pieces of city equipment, including a pickup with a snow plow, up for sale via Ely Auction Service.
• Appointed election judges for the Nov. 8 general election.
• Approved the sale of a Spaulding lot to Wild Haven Investments, with the understanding that the property would be developed for a residential home.
“There will not be any short term rental licenses available by the time they build,” said Langowski.