Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee Bonding Tour makes a stop in Duluth

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There are many businesses in Duluth with projects that they have visions for but need some extra help from the state, and they had their chance to pitch ideas and planning process. On Tuesday, members of the Minnesota House Capital Investment Committee embarked on a state-wide trip to visit different cities and hear presentations on proposed projects in different regions.

The committee chair shares how important it is to get out into the community and see firsthand the needs for these projects. “We need to understand the importance of the projects through the lens and the understanding of the local communities, and oftentimes, we will just look at numbers if we don’t hear the actual stories. I think that’s making it a little bit harder for us to make the decision that we had to make,” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL-Minneapolis), Chair of the House Committee.

The committee made their fifth stop on Tuesday in Duluth visiting different organizations including the airport to hear about some of these future project ideas.

“We’re actively seeking the $14 million in state funding to help the rebuilding of this building. Currently, it’s 70 years old. It’s the third oldest air traffic control tower in the country at the end of its useful life. So, we have a project totaling $52 million. There’ll be a $38 million request for federal grant money, and we’re hoping that the state will partner with us on this project,” said Tom Werner, Executive Director of the Duluth International Airport.

After visiting the airport, members headed to the public library and then the DECC, where the administrating staff discussed improvements that they are looking to get help funding. “There’s a lot of things that haven’t been repaired over 30 years or longer, and we’re just really trying to get up to speed on that. So there are two main focuses this year actually making the deck more accessible for everyone. We’re also trying to do energy conservation,” Dan Hartman; DECC Executive Director shared.

The committee then headed over to the Great Lakes Aquarium, where they also had conversations with staffers including the Executive Director at Great Lakes Aquarium, Jay Walker about two of the projects that they are looking to improve on like an education classroom and filtration system. “One of the projects is redoing our filtration system so that we can reduce the amount of water reused. Obviously, we’re an aquarium, so we use water here to for the to support the animals we have. Well, we can update our systems so that we can reduce the amount of water we use or reuse some of the water that we have and that’s a huge project for us.”

The committee will continue their Northeast tour on Wednesday in Two Harbors then make their way to Ely.