Minnesota City Seeks $1M to Expand Campground

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August 20, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment


A campsite at Burlington Bay Campground, Two Harbors, Minn.

A campsite at Burlington Bay Campground, Two Harbors, Minn.

Members of the Minnesota State Finance Committee will visit Two Harbors, Minn., in October to discuss giving the city a loan for the expansion of its campground.

The city is seeking a $1 million, low-interest loan to expand the Burlington Bay Campground by 40 sites, according to the Lake County News Chronicle.

Burlington Bay Campground, located on the shore of Lake Superior, has 66 sites with water and electric hook-ups and 36 sites with water, elctric and sewer hook-ups. In addition, there are 10 primitive tent sites and a dump station. 

According to the city's public works director, Tom Gelineau, the campground turns away between 50 and 100 people every day during the summer, due to lack of sites. A campground expansion would quickly pay for itself, Gelineau told the Waterfront District meeting this week

"With the high cost of property taxes many private campgrounds have closed, yet the demand for campsites remains the same or greater," he said. "We are turning people away at too high of a rate."

Two Harbors Visitor Center Supervisor Michelle Rittierodt agreed. "From the first person who comes in the morning until the last visitor at the end of the day, people are looking for camping," she said. "It's a constant demand."

Gelineau said campers traditionally spend a lot of money in the communities in which they stay.

"We don't necessarily know that the folks spending the money are campers because they don't have a 'C' on their foreheads," he said. "But I see the folks who have registered out and about and they are big spenders, I can tell you that. This is a boon for the city and for the business community."

The campground fees also reduce the burden on the taxpayers by generating income for the city, Gelineau said. The campground brings in a profit of about $250,000 a year.

Mayor Randy Bolen said some work on the project had already begun, using in-kind labor and equipment from the county. He said the city has a strong case to present to the State Finance Committee when it visits.

"We're pretty excited about this," he said. "We've never had a visit from the committee before and the fact that we are getting a chance to present this project is huge. We've got our ducks in a row and we're ready to present our case."

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