Updated: May 06, 2021 11:07 PM
Created: May 06, 2021 04:57 PM
Spirit Mountain has gone through its fair share of financial woes over the years, but on Thursday, Duluth city leaders laid out how they plan to reinvest in it with the goal of getting it back on track.
The city is proposing to launch a $24 million capital reinvestment program.
Of this, 50% would be funded by state bonding, 25% by the city from tourism taxes, and 25% by Spirit Mountain itself.
This comes after a report from a task force found that Spirit Mountain brings in $22 million annually to the City of Duluth.
As part of the reinvestment, there will be a number of capital projects as well, including:
"The capital projects would improve the economic impact, community benefit, and financial performance of Spirit Mountain," a news release from the City of Duluth said.
Duluth Mayor Emily Larson says she believes this is an investment that will be worth it in the long run.
"The opportunity for the city and for Spirit to invest in the property, and all of its assets really is now, and it's one that I truly, truly believe will pay off. Based on the report that is public, and the efforts of the task force, and the SE group, these direct improvements will increase Spirit's economic impact to an estimated $39.9 million annually. It would increase the number of visitors by 50,000 a year to 300,000 per year, would create an additional 205 new jobs," said Larson.
Larson says she will be working with the city council to include Spirit Mountain in bonding requests for next year.
If funded, the goal would be to start the capital projects in 2023.
The city council next week will also consider a resolution to eliminate $900,000 of Spirit Mountain's line of credit with the city.
“Eliminating this debt will help Spirit plan for the future because it will allow the city to negotiate a debt repayment schedule while weaning Spirit from city operating subsidies,” Mayor Larson said in the release. “…the most important reason to do this is that another recommendation from the Task Force includes the potential to enter into a long-term operational lease for facility management…no reasonable operator would demonstrate even passing interest to take on the financial debt for an asset they simply do not own.”
The city will also be asking the Spirit Board of Directors to take on the following steps to improve operations, including: