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DULUTH - A Northland correctional facility is looking to St. Louis County to help with a $1.5 million upgrade.
St. Louis County is just one of five counties needed to match a bonding bill for this major renovation.
“There are a variety of infrastructure improvements,” Arrowhead Regional Corrections Executive Director Kay Arola said. "Nothing very glamorous."
Arrowhead Regional Corrections went before St. Louis County commissioners asking them to match a $737,000 bonding bill granted by the state for N.E.R.C.C..
"These projects are absolutely necessary,” said Arola.
The $737,000 would be used for more than a dozen upgrades in N.E.R.C.C.’s rundown infrastructure.
"We always run a risk of them failing which would be devastating in a facility like that," said Arola.
Officials say the facility got in its current condition due to the economic climate.
"We have chosen to continue to provide programming and delayed the capital improvements," said Arola.
At the top of the nearly $1.5 million renovations is replacing the boiler, ventilation and better water systems.
"These aren't fancy projects,” said Arola. "You're not gonna come and be able to see a lot of the improvements but we will be able to feel the improvements."
The match was first met with mixed opinions by the commissioners.
"I think the plan you've laid out is a lot of very reasonable and necessary additions,” St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O’Neil said. "Upgrades that make sense to me."
"We want to reform these people, but there's nothing wrong with a little bit of hard knocks,” St. Louis County Commissioner Chris Dahlberg said. "I don't think they need air conditioning in the rooms."
Almost all of the commissioners gave the match the green light when the 50 percent return on energy savings and historic low interest rate of two percent for the 15 year bond were taken into consideration.
"It's time almost to pay the piper,” St. Louis County Commissioner Peg Sweeney said. "It's time to get it done."
Arrowhead officials will meet again with St. Louis County commissioners on this issue in two weeks.