Spirit Mountain Closed For The Summer; City Implements Task Force To Figure Out Future

To reopen for the upcoming winter season, the city is going to have to fork over $350,000 in assistance.

DULUTH, Minn. – Financial impacts of Covid-19 are continuing to hit hard for Spirit Mountain in Duluth.

The popular tourist attraction will now remain closed all the way through the end of summer.

Spirit Mountain is in bad financial shape as the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to create money problems.

Due to the city’s own financial issues, this time around, supporting Spirit Mountain is much more difficult.

At the start of the pandemic, Spirit Mountain laid off all most all of its staff to help eliminate any further cash constraints on the attraction.

Covid-19 has caused a huge drop in tourism revenue around Duluth.

With limited tourism dollars coming in, the decision to close for the summer became an easier one to make.

Spirit Mountain is expecting to reopen for the upcoming winter season.

But to do so the city is going to have to fork over $350,000 in assistance.

That’s the number included in a budget resolution planned to go before the city council next week.

Even entertaining the idea of a summer reopening would mean the city of Duluth would have to scrape up an additional $200,000, which could be tough with the city facing a potential deficit of nearly $40 million.

“The Spirit Mountain Board of Directors has identified its number one organizational priority as Spirit’s long term capacity to continue serving the community and they have determined the most effective way to preserve that capacity is for Spirit to unfortunately to remain closed, said City of Duluth’s Director of Public Administration Jim Filby Williams.

That doesn’t mean the City of Duluth isn’t taking action.

A new task force is being assembled to take a deeper look into what it would take for the attraction to stay open.

“The goal of the task force is to really examine all of the facets at Spirit Mountain,” said Duluth Mayor Emily Larson. “Some of what the task force would be tasked with is helping give direction like what’s the appropriate amount of support. It could be an entity that might need more financial support.

If operations were to stay closed long term, the Spirit Mountain Recreation Authority and the City of Duluth would be on the hook for more than $2 million in financial obligations for just this year.

This includes outstanding debt, payroll, and refunds on season passes.

As of now, there is no word where the money would come from to pay for reopening this upcoming winter.,

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