Crane Lake Township

Current Topics

6/8/21 Minutes



June 8, 2021



The June 8, 2021, Board of Supervisors’ Meeting was called to order by Chairman Jerry Pohlman at 7:35PM at the Crane Lake Chapel Fellowship Hall with the Pledge of Allegiance recited by those in attendance including Supervisors Kara Knutson & Jerry Pohlman; Treasurer Traci Bak; Clerk Jo Ann Pohlman; and 2 members of the community.   Supervisor Jim Janssen was absent




Additions to the Agenda:  – An FYI on septic systems & Loan Payment were added to New Business


Minutes – A motion was made by Kara, supported by Jerry, to approve the minutes of the 5/11/21 Board of Supervisors’ Meeting.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report –The May Cash Balances were read, and the bills were presented as follows: Costin Group – $1,250.00; Lake Country Power – $146.56; MATIT – $763.00; The Watering Can – $1,112.52; Jeff Truebenbach – $225.00; St. Louis County Auditor – $52.00; and Payroll $636.57.  A motion was made by Jerry, supported by Kara, to approve the Treasurer’s Report as read and the payment of bills.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


The Clerk presented the correspondence.  The correspondence was received and will be placed on file and acted upon as required.





VNP-Visitor Center/Campsite:

Committee Report:  Architects sent in qualifications (RFQ’s) by May 2.  Eight firms responded of the nine firms we contacted.  These RFQ’s were reviewed and scored by committee members, and at a committee meeting on May 20th, we narrowed the eight down to four.  Consensus was “across the board” that these firms should come in for an interview:  DSGW of Virginia, ARI of Hibbing, AA of Duluth, and S.E.H of Hibbing.

Interviews were conducted on May 25 (ARI), May 26 (S.E.H), and June 2 (AA and DSGW).  Present at these interviews were committee members Deena Congdon, Gretchen Janssen, Mark Anderson, and Bruce Beste.  Town board member Jim Janssen was also present for the first two and town board member Kara Knutson was present for the second two.  We do not yet have a recommendation for the Town board on selection of a firm.  All firms interviewed understand the delays in grant funding, and each firm was willing to hold a community meeting this summer before an official contract is signed, as long as we give them a letter of intent.

At the committee meeting on May 20th, we also reviewed the letter from Bob DeGross dated April 13.  We wrote a response which was emailed to him on May 21.  His response was a letter dated June 2.  Highlights of that June 2 letter include the following:  VNP does not request to be involved in the selection of an architect.  VNP does not have any existing exhibits for the Crane Lake Visitor Center, so they wish for us to plan the exhibit space after which VNP will seek funding for the design, fabrication, and installation of their exhibits.  Regarding the overall design of the building floor plan, VNP feels that a lobby of 1200 square feet would be appropriate.  They wish for one visitor center desk, one year round office space, and two seasonal desk spaces (which could be in a common work area).  They request reasonable indoor storage, no outdoor storage, and interior space for a permit station.  VNP wishes to continue conversation regarding the details of volunteer RV sites, the use of an auditorium and other shared spaces, and the terms of a lease agreement.  They request a meeting prior to the end of June to continue discussion of details.

On May 24th, Gretchen Janssen attended a Zoom meeting with the County.  Highlights of that meeting include the following:  Most grantees do not have need of a fiscal agent, so costs of a fiscal agent will not be covered in the LCCMR grant.  This means the County will bill the Town at an hourly rate for their involvement in this project.  The County wants to do all contracting, bidding, and purchasing, but they will not agree to allow activity on this project to begin until the DNR finalizes a contract with the County which could take until the end of August.  If our grant is approved July 1, the first thing we need to do is finalize our work plan which includes more details about how the grant dollars will be spent.  This means as a Town we need to decide if building a campground comes first or if we try to build both the campground and Visitor Center during the same summer.



Town of Crane Lake Meeting Minutes – June 8, 2021



As a committee we have discussed the idea of using S.E.H to build the campground (grant #1) in year 2022 and involve our architect firm to plan the parking, landscaping and exterior exhibits of the Visitor Center so that site preparation can also be completed in 2022 with grant #1.  Grant #2 could be used on the construction of the Visitor Center building with a target date of summer 2023.  (Grant dollars need to be spent by June 2024)

Other topics discussed in the County meeting include the need of a Town resolution stating that the Town will accept all O/M costs of these projects after construction.  In the work plan we should grant the County access to see our budget and work plan. The DNR also made two noteworthy comments at this meeting: the Town will need to have a conflict of interest policy and the Town will need to formally document who is authorized to sign reimbursement requests.

VNP called a meeting on June 3 for potential partners of the Visitor Center project.  Jo Ann, Jim, and Gretchen attended.  All entities seemed in agreement that Crane Lake should design the exhibit space inside and outside.  Entities will be pursuing funding to help create their exhibits, or (preferably) to contribute financially to the exhibits our architect firm designs and we approve of.  The DNR, Quetico Prov Park, the USFS, and VNP all gave verbal agreement to contribute as long as their messaging was present in our exhibits.  Voyageurs Conservancy was also represented at the meeting and is being asked to help fundraise and increase awareness of this project.


Action items this committee requests of the Town Board include:

  • A resolution on covering operational costs of the projects.  A motion was made by Jerry, supported by Kara, to adopt Resolution No. 2021-05 – A Resolution for the Town of Crane Lake, Required by the LCCMR, Committing to the Payment of Operation Expense for the Visitor Center being Constructed.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.
  • Information from Braun Intertec on the soil borings they have completed recently on our land.  What is the status of the well monitoring going on?. Jason Chopp of S.E.H. will be contacted for this information.
  • Comments on the specific uses of our two grants.  The Board agreed with the Committee’s thoughts on using the Campground grant of $3.1 million first and using the Visitor Center grant of $2.7 million second.
  • Strategy for planning a Crane Lake campground (do you want firms other than S.E.H interviewed for this project?  The Board felt S.E.H. should be the Project Manager for the Campground as well as the Visitor Center and no other firms needed to be interviewed.
  • Is a community meeting necessary yet this summer on the campground design?).  This was not discussed.


Ideas for after July 1, assuming our grant is approved:

Follow up on the purchase of the Kristen Scott land.

Ask for a more formal proposal from two maybe three architect firms.

Ask S.E.H to apply for permits (and withhold their billing until the County approves any action).

Plan a community meeting in August.

Meet again with VNP to discuss “dual use” space.

Create an agreement for CLWSD and CLVTB to occupy space in the Visitor Center.


A motion was made by Kara, supported by Jerry, to adopt Resolution No. 2021-03 Authorizing the Town Clerk to File an Application with the Minnesota Management and Budget Office for the Purpose of a New Public Water Access Facility.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Grounds Clean-up:  There was no report.

Docks:  There was no report.


ATV Report:  Bruce advised those present that the next ATV meeting is scheduled for Wed., June 9th  at 6:30PM at Boone Docks in Ray  The club’s expansion plans now include International Falls.  There will be five new board members from the International Falls area.


Trails Report:  Lori Sanborn reported the following:  I have been in communication with Tim Engrave  and he had planned to stop by in early May to visit about how the Crane Lake Trails Committee and the USFS could work together, however, he had to postpone due something changing in his schedule. The Voyageur Statue Trail needs to have some clearing done, better signage and a bridge.  I will round up volunteers after peak season. I would like to order hiking trail signs,  (upon a suggestion from Bruce) to try to do a better job highlighting the Voyagaire Statue Trail as well as the Gorge Trail and the Herriman Lake Trail.  Would it be okay to use funds from the Trail Fund to pay for the signs?  Gretchen stated that signs have been ordered.  A motion was made by Kara, supported by Jerry, to use Trail Funds for signage.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Town of Crane Lake Meeting Minutes – June 8, 2021



Land Use Project:  Serena Swenson has asked to join the Committee, which now includes Kara Knutson, Bruce Beste, Ed Thornton and Serena Swenson.


Scott’s Seaplane Base:  There was no report


Neighborhood Watch Report:  There has been activity in Orr with smashed mailboxes and mail being stolen.


Broadband:  There was no Committee Report.  The Costin Group was asked about funding for Broadband in Crane Lake.  Jeff Anderson of The Costin Group had a conversation with Whitney Ridlon of the IRRRB who advised that the Township set up a meeting with a selected broadband provider and ask them to create a plan and cost estimate.  Whitney said the middle mile loop from the Northeast Service Cooperative already connects to Crane Lake, so the highway to get Broadband to Crane Like is already there.  Infrastructure is now needed to get out to the community.  Once cost estimates are available, Costin Group can go to the IRRRB, the State of MN and the Federal Government to apply for grants for physical construction.





American Rescue Plan Act Fund:  A motion was made by Jerry, supported by Kara, to adopt Resolution No. 2021-04 for the Town of Crane Lake to Accept the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund Established under the American Rescue Plan Act.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Septic Systems:  Comm. Paul McDonald advised that individuals can now apply for a septic system online at


Loan Payment.  The Board reviewed the amount of principal payment to be made on the 2008 Loan for the Community Property Project.  A principal payment of $25,000 was made in 2016, reducing the principal from $250,000 to $225,000.   The loan matures on 1/15/2038, at which time it could be renewed if necessary.  The Board’s original plan was to pay on the principal when land was sold.  The Budget Committee has recommended paying on the principal, when possible, going forward.  A motion was made by Kara, supported by Jerry, to pay $35,000 on the loan in July.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.


Other New Business:  There was none.


Comments from Officers:  There were none.


Public Comments: Gretchen Janssen mentioned the National Night Out on the 1st Tuesday in August each year – this year 8/3/21.  It promotes community and volunteers.  The Crane Lake Chapel will be participating this year.  Any ideas for the celebration are welcome.



Next Meeting:   Board of Supervisors’ Meeting – July 13, 2021 – 7:30PM, Fellowship Hall



There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30PM.






Jo Ann Pohlman, Clerk                                                  Jerry Pohlman, Chairman







This draft of the Crane Lake Township minutes has been posted solely for preliminary informational purposes.  Minutes are unofficial and subject to change until they have been approved by the Crane Lake Board of Supervisors.