Community Connection to Grand Marais Recreation Area considered

Plans for a pathway leading from the sidewalk on Highway 61 
into the east end of the Grand Marais Recreation Area – called the 
Community Connection -- are under way.  Park Manager Dave Tersteeg 
reported to the park board on March 6, that he had obtained quotes 
from two local contractors – Edwin E. Thoreson Inc. and Winchester 
Higgins of W Labor on materials and labor in order to get some idea on 
costs.
Manager Tersteeg compiled costs for several different combinations of 
materials that could be used – bituminous (blacktop) or granite sand 
for the main trail; concrete or metal edging for curbing; flagstone, 
eco-pavers, or concrete for smaller paths and landings; and concrete 
or boulders for retaining walls.
Quotes ranged from just under $19,000 to just over $44,000 depending 
on materials used.  Steps, a water feature, a channel for runoff, and 
site grading would cost an additional $18,000 to $36,000.  These 
estimates are significantly lower than the costs projected by SEH, the 
firm that created the initial site drawings.  Not included in these 
prices would be trees, shrubs, and other plantings, benches, a fire 
ring, a pedestrian bridge, signs, and containers.
Costs will be kept down by utilizing staff and volunteers for some of 
the work.  In a separate interview, Tersteeg said park staff would do 
all the planting and landscaping.  “That’s what we do all day, every 
day,” he said.
Tersteeg later told the News-Herald that he thinks the project might 
be done in two phases:  developing a ditch for storm water management 
and building the pedestrian entrance into the park.  He envisions the 
possibility of numerous contractors taking on different parts of the 
project.
The board expressed a preference for boulders over concrete for the 
retaining walls.  Chair Mianowski said, “We want to keep it rustic as 
much as we can.”
The board will think about its options and make a decision on 
materials at a later meeting; firm quotes can then be solicited from 
contractors.  The work will only take about a week or two to complete, 
Tersteeg said.  Spring or fall would be the best time to do it, he 
said, but he recommended that they not try to get it done this spring.
“The idea is to bring people from town into the park and to bring 
people from the park into town,” said Mianowski.
Tersteeg said, “This could become our front door.”