Superior Councilors Close Kestrel Chapter, Make MLK City Holiday

Taylor Holt
Updated: December 19, 2018 01:53 PM

The City of Superior is closing the chapter on a project that failed to keep it's promise to bring hundreds of jobs to the area. Councilors voted unanimously Tuesday to dissolve a Tax Increment Financing District created for the Kestrel project back in 2012.

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Alan Klapmeier told the city and state of Wisconsin that Kestrel would construct a 50,000 square foot aircraft manufacturing facility near the Richard I. Bong Airport. Another 35,000 square foot manufacturing facility was to be built at the Winter Street Industrial Park.

According to the agreement, the facilities would have been used to manufacture the Kestrel K-350, a single-engine, turbo prop aircraft. According to the agreement, this would all lead to 600 permanent jobs by 2016, but those jobs never materialized.

Earlier this year, Superior City Council decided to join with the state in efforts to recover millions in loans awarded to the company. Mayor Jim Paine said the TIF district was one of the things they did for the kestrel loan but says it's time to close that chapter.

"Obviously, we're not doing that project. We have nothing to go in there so we're just going to close that down. That land was only really worthwhile for the Kestrel project and there's no sense having that on the books," said Paine. "For us we're kind of over it. This has been a process that's been more or less finished for a very long time at this point were cleaning it up."

Also on Tuesday, councilors unanimously approved a resolution to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day as a city holiday. Paine says this was recommended by the mayor's commission on communities of color and says the Duluth-Superior NAACP has been working on trying to get large institutions, particularly governmental bodies to recognize this holiday as a holiday. He says it's a positive step forward. 

"It's vital because while this is a predominantly white community, we do have a relatively vibrant communities of color, as well as an indigenous population here in the city of Superior, and so we need to recognize what the spirit of this holiday actually is, and why the federal government saw it so important to recognize that the struggle fro civil rights is not over," said Paine.

City employees can expect to have the first holiday off in 2020.


Taylor Holt

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