Updated: 03/11/2014 10:19 PM
Created: 03/11/2014 10:05 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
A decision whether to save the historic ore dock in Ashland split the city council Tuesday night, but with a 6 to 5 vote the council approved taking control of the dock. Mayor Bill Whalen said over $3 million offered by the dock's current owner, Canadian National, should help improve it for future use.
Canadian National has demolished most of the iconic ore dock that once stood 80 feet above Chequamegon Bay. However, the city council vote saved the base of the dock and the history many residents hold dear.
“It's just the history. I grew up about a block from that dock. I still remember all the ore cars pounding along there and all the boats in the bay,” Norm Peterson said.
Alex Faber also supported saving the dock because of fond memories biking beneath it, but she said not everyone in town agrees.
“I think the city's a little split. A lot of people see it as something iconic and very important to what made Ashland into Ashland and made it something important. Then, for other people it was just an eyesore,” Faber said.
City Councilor Joyce Kabasa loved seeing the dock out her kitchen window, but she felt the city was taking on more than it could afford with the deal.
“I know they want that dock because that's our history, but they got to read our history now at the museum or in a book or something. It's not something we can afford,” Kabasa said.
Canadian National officials assured the councilors the $3.25 million the city would receive in the deal is more than enough to remove the dock base. Some councilors and Mayor Whalen saw that as a backup plan, and for now the money will be put in a trust with hopes it can seed grant money.
Whalen said at a 20 percent match that trust could generate a total of $15 million for developing the dock. He said that could mean creating a fishing pier or a place to winter ships, but no plan has been approved yet by the council.
The city council vote saved what remains of the ore dock, but it will take time to decide how the city will move forward with the historic site.
In the deal, Canadian National also gave Ashland over 50 parcels of land located in the city that were estimated to value $239,000. Councilors also approved marking some of the $3.25 million to repair three roads near the ore dock that were damaged by earlier demolition activity.
Chester Bowl Ski Jumps to be Torn Down, Memorialized
Out with the old and in with the new is a transition that's difficult for many especially when the old is something as historic as the Chester Bowl Ski Jumps. They will be torn down the week of August 18th, but a new memorial will go up by early 2016.
Duluth Hunt To Allow Unlimited Antlerless Deer Harvest
As hunters gear up for fall, bowhunters in Duluth are also getting ready for a change. The city hunt will allow unlimited antlerless deer to be harvested this fall. The change comes as most of the state is seeing tighter restrictions.
130 Years of Mining in Minnesota
Folks gathered in Soudan on Thursday, to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the first shipment of iron ore.
Independence Party U.S. Senate Candidate Announces Support for PolyMet
The Independence Party's candidate for U.S. Senate in Minnesota announced his support for a proposed copper nickel mine on the Iron Range.
Four Republican Candidates for Minn. Governor Face Off On Air
The four Republican candidates for Minnesota governor faced off in a radio debate Thursday morning in Duluth. Marty Seifert, Scott Honour, Jeff Johnson and Kurt Zellers addressed the issue of what to do in the case of a budget shortfall, among other questions.