It has been just over a year that the term COVID pandemic came into use and the global pandemic profoundly impacted the entire planet. The resulting shutdown of our communities touched all of us. The stress put upon our healthcare systems, businesses, schools, institutions, and families, will continue to be felt for some time and will, no doubt, effect the way we live and work as we slowly return to “normal”. No one escaped the many impacts of this pandemic – including us in Voyageur Country. And while federal and state programs helped many County businesses effected by COVID, some will not recover. However, as we turn the calendar and celebrate the arrival of Spring, vaccinations continue to increase and bring us closer to re-gaining our previous lives. Spring always brings renewed hope, but this year it seems especially true.
In this Spring newsletter, we will provide an update on projects underway in the County; highlight a new business that found a unique home in the country; meet a couple that started a new adventure here; learn about the beautiful night sky phenomena of aurora borealis.
Projects Moving Forward.
Highway 53 Reconstruction – Stage II. Construction will continue this May on the second stage of this $12.9 million dollar project that will complete the re-building of Highway 53 from 15th street north to the Canadian border (15 blocks) and 22nd street south four blocks. This is the primary traffic and business corridor through the City of International Falls from the south on Highway 53. The purpose of the project is to address the aging Highway 53 infrastructure in International Falls. When completed, the project will result in a smoother pavement surface, an improved drainage/storm sewer system, improved ADA compliant pedestrian accessibility, a multi-use trail, a new state-of-the-art signal systems, and LED lighting system and other streetscape features including trees and benches. The construction is scheduled to be completed in October of 2021, with final landscaping following in 2022.
International Falls Airport Runway– Phase III. $12.8 million. The third and final phase of the International Falls Airport runway reconstruction project begins in May. The $12.8 million project will involve the removal and reconstruction of 5, 500 feet of the Airport’s primary runway. To allow the airport to continue to deliver daily commercial service, the Federal Aviation Administration has allowed the airport to use the newly rebuilt parallel taxiway as a temporary runway during the construction which is scheduled to be completed in October. All navigation, lighting, and safety measures will be incorporated in the temporary taxiway usage. June through August is the busiest time for the Falls Airport for commercial travel and private aviation.
AmericInn, Cobblestone Hotels. Two new hotel facilities are scheduled to begin construction this Spring in International Falls. The hotels will be the first to be constructed in International Falls since 1987. AmericInn by Wyndham will be located on Keenan Drive just off of Highway 11 and will feature 84 rooms, a pool, and a continental breakfast area. Cobblestone Hotel and Suites will be located on Highway 53 south and will feature 87 rooms, a pool, a breakfast area that will convert to a restaurant area in the evening. Both hotels are scheduled to open in the Spring of 2022.