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Great Lakes Article:

McQuade project would harm Duluth

04/05/2002

The latest DNR-proposed lease draft of Duluth land to obtain the Congdon Trust Property at McQuade Road is not adequate. If signed, Duluth would ultimately find itself mired in financial obligations it doesn't want and certainly can't afford. The City Council, despite DNR promises to the contrary, must not fall into this trap.

 

The lease gives the state sole power over the McQuade project. The DNR's only obligation is to pass on information to the city. If Duluth signs, it will have no control over the project.

 

The mayor is rushing the council to sign the lease by his comments that the state has begun the condemnation process. He has not shown the evidence.

 

Evidence to the contrary is that the DNR has eliminated McQuade's latest funding and Gov. Jesse Ventura is not supporting McQuade in the bonding bill.

 

The lease states that the DNR will erect a sign stating that McQuade access is "cooperatively provided.'' Local projects are supported locally -- Duluth will be pressured to help secure millions in dollars, even though the lease makes it explicit that there is no local control of the project. Both the DNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers agree that McQuade will cost $7.5 million to $8 million.

 

At a time when legitimate local projects are in need of money, this staggering amount cannot be raised without important Duluth needs being compromised.

 

The lease has no provision for repair of breakwalls when they are damaged by storms. This cost will be phenomenal.

 

McQuade is again on the City Council's agenda concerning the lease.

 

We all know this is a controversial project. The task is to convince city councilors. They must be fiscally responsible, and we all need to realize that there is no free lunch.

 

CLYDE AND KAREN RITCHIE

DULUTH

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