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Port Authority discusses river dredging

Posted on September 14, 2022

Port Authority Manager Shari Chorney provided an update on the Little River Bulkhead repair and the river dredging to the board during the Sept. 6 Port Authority meeting.

In July the Port Authority was notified by CD Terminal of an emergency dredge situation, the tugboat operator was unable to get barges to the Little River Bulkhead for loading and unloading.

“We were notified by our bulkhead operator that we were in need of an emergency dredge,” she said.

“There was a barge that was stuck and we were fortunate that Public Works was performing a dredge over at Colvill Marina,” Chorney said. “They were nice enough to pull their guys off of that dredge project and bring them over to our project.”

she said.

The city had soundings done by LS Marine of the area along Carlson Island where the dredging

issues were happening.

“Dredging is a big issue in Red Wing, so I just wanted to bring this to your attention. Right now we are looking at about $45,000 for this because we have had to bring a lot of players into this,” Chorney said.

Red Wing is not the only city that has the issue with dredging, St. Paul and other river cities face a similar problem.

“At what point does this little channel no longer exist? We know that there is a lot of sediment north of Lake Pepin and in our area. I’m just putting these questions out there to be answered at a future meeting,” Port Authority board member Becky Norton said.

“Can we work with legislation to make some policy changes that decrease the sediment flow. Maybe we can find out if there are grants or if they can take over some of the payments of some of these costs, because this problem is just going to get worse,” she continued.

Downtown projects

Downtown development projects that are in progress are in assessing stages, looking at the work that still needs to be done.

The Block 27, Associated Bank and Hallstroms projects are all working on funding and planning.

The three separate projects are focused on providing more housing downtown.

Montgomery Investments is the firm that has been assessing the Associated Bank building for potential housing.

A recent updated building analysis report has shown that the costs for redevelopment are higher than originally anticipated.

“Based on the analysis there was a $3.2 to $3.8 million gap still to make that project feasible and a reality. Given that, staff has started to look into some other options for financing that project, ” Community Development Director Kyle Klatt said.

Sign grants

The Port Authority approved several sign, awning and facade grants during its meeting.

One grant was awarded to State Farm Insurance Agency in the amount of $912.49.

Another grant was given to Big Dawg’s Meat and Deli in the amount of $2,500. The third was awarded to West End Liquor for $1,221.54.

The grant program was introduced to help local businesses and business owners with the signage and awning in the downtown historic district.

In the past, board members have raised concerns about the usage of these funds to the grant recipients.

“I still have concerns that we are approving a lot of these signs without looking at the intent of the purpose … my understanding of the sign and awning grant was it originated especially looking at the downtown area,” Norton said.

“Because of the historic and heritage preservation district and the historic nature of downtown we were really asking business owners to invest more in their signage in order to keep that particular feel. I’m wondering if this has really become a sign and awning program for anyone in town that wants a new sign or awning,” she continued.

Some of the grant recipients have not fit into the original idea for the program, and board members raised concerns about this.

“I certainly want to support our local businesses and that is very important to me, but we are ticking through this money really fast,” Norton said.

Other board members agreed that the program should be reassessed and redesigned to align with the original intent.


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