Minnesota’s North Shore along Lake Superior is becoming more and more of a camping destination and the Silver Bay Economic Development Authority wants to take advantage of the tourism.
At the Silver Bay City Council meeting Monday night (March 19), council members voted 3-2 to allow Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc., an engineering and architecture firm based in Duluth, to devise a plan for a municipal campground after the Silver Bay Economic Development Authority asked the councilors to consider looking into a plan for a campground in the city, the Lake County News Chronicle, Two Harbors, reported
City Councilor Joanne Johnson said a campground has been discussed for quite some time.
Councilors Carlene Perfetto and Steve Marolt voted against the measure.
Such a close vote did not come without a little debate.
“In my opinion, we live in one of the most beautiful areas in the world,” Councilor Joanne Johnson said. “And if we don’t market it, we’re missing the boat.”
She said that it was worth it to look into a plan to at least see if a campground is feasible. But Marolt wondered about the cost.
“Just spending money on a plan doesn’t seem right when there are other things that we need to look at in the city,” he said.
Money for commissioning a plan would be taken out of the Silver Bay Economic Development Authority funds. SEH has proposed to develop preliminary site and building layouts for the campground.
Marolt added that money spent on a campground won’t be earned back to benefit the city. He felt more people were likely to go to Tettegouche State Park or Split Rock Lighthouse, which is expanding its campground. He added that the price of gas is rising and people aren’t going as far as they want to. While Marolt said he was in favor of looking into campgrounds in the past, the economy is going sour now and times are changing.
“You have to be in the time frame that we’re in and that’s what I’m looking at,” he said.
Councilor Dave Gustafson said that while Split Rock is expanding, the state-owned campgrounds were still full every weekend and that travelers are still traveling.
Johnson said if committees like the Economic Development Authority assemble this kind of work, the council should look very strongly at it although they don’t have to approve it every time. She asked what the EDA should be spending its money on if not on things that could benefit the city.
One city councilor did not like the location of the proposed campground. Current plans have the Silver Bay campground located near the rec center building on Outer Drive. But Perfetto said placing a campground in this area would leave it without lakeshore campsites, something that many other campgrounds have, including the Burlington Bay Campground in Two Harbors.
Costs for planning the campground have yet to be determined.