$4.6 million renovation set for Plaza 53 West in Mountain Iron

MOUNTAIN IRON — The Plaza 53 West strip mall along Highway 53 in Mountain Iron has been sold to a Texas developer, who will hire a St. Paul firm to manage it.

The company plans to put an estimated $4.6 million into the renovation project, which will include an interior and exterior overhaul and repair of the pothole-filled parking lot, Mayor Gary Skalko said at Monday night’s Mountain Iron City Council meeting.

The developer will seek Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board funding, he said.

No information was presented on the future of current mall occupants or possible new ones. But the building offers many retail possibilities, Skalko said.

City Administrator Craig Wainio will be working with the developer, he said.


The council Monday also expressed enthusiasm for Mountain Iron’s inaugural National Night Out community celebration, which took place Tuesday evening at the Mountain Iron Community Center.

This is the first time the city has held the gathering, an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships in cities throughout America.

Members of the St. Louis Country Sheriff’s and Mountain Iron Fire departments were at the celebration and firetrucks were on display.

There were hot dogs, popcorn, root beer floats, giveaways and live music by Steve’s “Overpopulated” One-Man Band and the group, Horse Fzce.

Anna Amundson, Mountain Iron Public Library director and special events coordinator, thanked the additional sponsors: American Bank of Mountain Iron, First National Bank of Buhl, Carquest Auto Parts and Anderson Auto Service, both of Mountain Iron.

In other business, the council:

• Promoted Matthew Cerkvenik from the position of maintenance, Job Class 16, to journeyman lineman, Job Class 22. Cerkvenik has completed requirements as an apprentice lineman, Wainio said.

• Approved a base bid and an alternate quote totaling $128,495 to Bougalis Inc., for a water main repair project from the American Bank entrance to the Enterprise Drive South intersection along Unity Drive. “Our staff is not equipped to handle the job,” which will include boring under Highway 7, said Tim Satrang, director of public works.

• Heard a presentation from Bradley Peterson, an attorney/lobbyist, with the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities. Peterson said one of CGMC’s current goals is to work to increase Local Government Aid funding during the 2020 legislative session and to engage in “a discussion” regarding a LGA formula that will be more beneficial to cities, especially those outside the metro area.

• Councilor Steve Skogman addressed the idea of looking into bonding opportunities for city projects, including street repairs. The Mountain Iron Community Center/City Hall will be paid off this year, he said.

Mountain Iron voters in 1998 approved a market rate-based referendum levy for bonds and interest to construct the center. Skogman asked Wainio to “look into how much this city can support for bonding” and requested that “department heads look at what needs to be done.”


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