All of the signs of fall are in view here in Koochiching County and the transition into this wonderful time of year is underway. Schools are back in session and residents and visitors are exchanging boats for ATVs and taking to the woods to appreciate the recreational opportunities this season provides. It’s been a busy summer but the focus shifts to fall activities and we celebrate the possibilities.
In this fall newsletter, we’ll provide an update on projects underway in the County, showcase one of the oldest short-line railroads in the country, introduce you to two brothers that are bringing craft beer to Rainy Lake, and share some information on a local treasure, that is the International Falls Public Library.
Projects Moving Forward.
Falls International Airport Terminal project. Construction of the $10.5 million new terminal project began in July. The new structure will replace the existing 40-year old terminal and provide air travelers a more comfortable and modern experience. The weather has cooperated and construction is on schedule for a July 2017 completion. The Falls International Airport is one of nine airports in Minnesota with daily commercial air service to Minneapolis and also provides customs clearance for international flights.
Island View Sewer Project. The extension of the existing sanitary sewer infrastructure east on Highway 11 to the end of the road at Sha Sha Resort took another step forward this month as the Koochiching County Board approved the signing of water crossing permits with state agencies. The $17 million dollar (estimated) project will connect 267 households and eight commercial businesses to the existing system. The County and its’ engineering team held a public meeting in August to update the public about project specifics, costs, and timetables. The project will be funded by state, federal (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers), and individual property owners. The next step in the project will be to solicit bids in late November in hopes of awarding in February or March, with construction beginning in 2017. County officials have been promoting the project as both a clean water initiative for the Rainy Lake/Voyageurs National Park basin as well as a development initiative that will allow for commercial and residential investment.
Tim Horton’s Restaurant. The iconic Canadian franchise known for its’ coffee and donuts, recently announced it will be opening a location in International Falls. Construction began in early October on the 2,400 sq. ft. restaurant by a local contractor with hopes of completion by the end of the year. The restaurant is one of several scheduled for Minnesota this year. The restaurant will be located at one of the busiest intersections – Highway 53 and 17th Street – currently a vacant lot.
Roads and Bridges. This construction season was a busy one for the Koochiching County Engineer’s Office. All corners of the county have had road and bridge work done this summer and the extension of warm weather has allowed the completion of an ambitious construction schedule. According to Joe Sutherland, Koochiching County Engineer, the County will have spent approximately $4.5 million on road and bridge construction this season.
Broadband Expansion. The broadband network in Koochiching County was expanded this season with two service providers investing in expanding portions of their networks. Frontier Communications invested in fiber and technology to serve customers and resorts on Highway 11 east on Rainy Lake. These enhancements will greatly improve speed and capacity to this area. Midcontinent Communications, in partnership with the State of Minnesota’s Border to Border Program, expanded its’ fiber network from International Falls to Littlefork. This expansion will be built out to individual households and businesses next Spring and should be operational by mid-summer.
For more information on the KEDA and Koochiching County visit our website – www.businessupnorth.com.