Here in the Northland, like much of the Midwest, we endured a lengthy and snowy winter that held on into late Spring. But the rewards of Spring emerged with great fanfare – the sunshine and open water helped put Winter behind us and set the course for Summer in Border Country. We look forward to all that the season has to offer and extend an invite to all of you outside the area to come up and experience Summer in the Borderland first-hand.
In this Summer newsletter, we’ll provide an update on some ongoing projects within the County;
Oh, and we’ve moved our office. The Koochiching Economic Development Authority (KEDA) offices have moved from our current location in downtown International Falls to the brand new Falls International Airport terminal.
Projects moving forward:
Falls International Airport – Phase II Terminal. On May 23rd, the Falls Airport Commission, lead by Mayor Bob Anderson hosted a ribbon cutting event to formally commission the opening of Phase II of the Falls International Airport. A number of dignitaries from the Federal Aviation Administration, United States Customs and Border Protection, the State of Minnesota Office of Aeronautics, key contractors and consulting engineers, and local dignitaries were on hand to dedicate the opening. Federal and State elected officials not able to attend had statements read as well. The 10,000 square foot, $6 million facility connected to the main terminal will host Customs and Border Protection, Transportation Services Administration, the National Weather Service, as well as space and conference room for the Airport Administration, and the KEDA. The Falls International Airport is one of only four airports in Minnesota that is designated an international airport with 24-hour Customs service. The airport is now preparing for a runway rebuild that will be done in 3 phases over the next three years.
Cantilever Distillery and Hotel. Construction continues on Koochiching County’s first legal distillery and boutique hotel in Ranier. The 31-room Trademark Collection Hotel by the Wyndham Group will be complemented by a distillery making a variety of custom liquors, a tasting room, restaurant, and small meeting area. The first pieces of the distillery equipment arrived in May and limited production is scheduled for June. The hotel is scheduled to open later this Fall.
The Tilson Bog Walk. The local ski club – The Polar Polers – maintains a series of trails at the Tilson Bay area east of International Falls. The trail must cross about a half mile of floating bog before it connects with higher terrain – and makes access all but impossible outside the winter months. It also makes trail maintenance difficult, especially when some of the trail clearing begins in the Fall. What started out as a wish list several years ago, turned into realty with the completion this Spring of the Tilson Bog Walk – a nearly ½ mile treated-lumber boardwalk which will provide access to the trail system year-round and make trail maintenance a whole lot easier. The cost of the project was nearly $200,000 and the club was able to secure a federal recreation grant for $150,000 and raised funds locally to supply the 25% match. The project was truly a partnership with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota providing the labor for the project. The trail is getting rave reviews by a variety of users including hikers, fat-tire bikers, birders, and dog walkers.
Rainy Lake Vacation RV Campground. Rainy Lake’s newest RV campground officially opened June 1st for the season. The 32-acre site on Sand Bay 5 minutes east of International Falls offers 30 RV sites for nightly, weekly, monthly, and seasonal rental. They also offer boat slips with immediate access to Rainy Lake and will be adding additional amenities including a shower room and meeting area. The site is beautifully landscaped and has already taken a number of seasonal reservations. For more information, check out their website –