Itasca County Jail project granted DEED funds

The Itasca County Jail project has been granted more than $325,000 in state dollars to clean up a contaminated site in Grand Rapids.

Minnesota DEED says the funding is to clean up petroleum and other contaminants from a historically residential and commercial block.

The block’s history includes use as an auto repair shop, offices, filling stations, and a fire station.

The project will redevelop the site into a three-story, 74,000 square-foot jail, creating 11 jobs and retaining 26.

Itasca County will match funds.

“As Minnesota recovers from the pandemic, these Contamination Cleanup and Investigation Grants play a key role in promoting community vitality by providing good jobs and housing,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This round of grants alone represents 456 jobs created and retained as well as 934 units of housing for Minnesotans.”

DEED’s Contamination Cleanup Grants cover up to 75% of the costs to remove contamination at approved polluted sites.

The remaining costs are covered by cities and counties, other units of local government, and private landowners and developers.

Grants are also awarded for contaminant investigation and response action plan development.

Eight communities were granted nearly $4 million in this round.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the Minnesota Department of Corrections originally issued a sunset date of Sept. 2021 for the existing Itasca County Jail, due to its deteriorating condition.

The sunset date was later extended to May 2023.

Beltrami County is also looking at its own jail project, having been issued a similar fix-it order from the DOC.

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