Giants Ridge improvements among funding projects for IRRRB 2015 fiscal year

By KBJR News 1

June 24, 2014 Updated Jun 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM CDT

Eveleth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Funding for the restoration of Giants Ridge Resort and education on the Iron Range topped the agenda today at the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board.

The board approved its $40 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year which includes several projects that will help the future of the Iron Range.

Additional funding for Giant's Ridge Event Center, was approved by the board which will allow people to enjoy a world class facility.

"We have right now a 30 year old chalet at the facility with a failing roof and tough windows and my best example is, it has just outlived its life," said Commissioner Tony Sertich.

The nearly $10 million project received $3.8 million in bonding money from the state, but needed an additional $6.19 million to fund the project.

Commissioners passed the measure to fund the balance hoping an upgraded facility will attract people to the area.

"People will find that this will be a world class facility now and will be able to compete with facilities all over the country, that's a big part of what this is all about," said Senator David Tomassoni, (DFL) Chisholm.

The board also approved $1.8 million for higher education in the northeast district.

After some work in the legislature, the board has another pot of money set aside to help funding for schools.

"This is not the first time that we have put money into schools, we have bonded for schools before. This is the first time we have set a pot aside that says, ok this amount of money goes into schools," said Rep. Tomassoni.

That amount is $7.5 million which, is dedicated to support innovation in education, collaboration, and bricks and mortar needs across the service area.

"It's an attempt for us to say, um, we value our schools and our schools need a lot of work and we are going to be part of the solution so um we thought it was a worthwhile thing," said Rep. Tomassoni.

The board also approved additional infrastructure projects including a $130,000 grant for the Vermilion Motel in Cook and another $350,000 grant to Ulland Brothers in Virginia.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.