Council to Vote on Spirit Mountain Funding

The Duluth City Council is set to vote tonight on a resolution that could give $300,000 to Spirit Mountain to help get it back open for the winter season.

DULUTH, Minn. – The Duluth City Council is set to vote tonight on a resolution that could give $300,000 to Spirit Mountain to help get it back open for the winter season.

That money would reimburse most of the $340,000 Spirit Mountain spent over the past few years on improvements for its lift system, snowmaking machines and the alpine coaster.

If it doesn’t pass, and the mountain doesn’t open this winter, the City of Duluth would be obligated to pay up to $2.6 million of Spirit Mountain’s outstanding debt, season pass refunds, payroll and accounts payable that it would not be able to pay.

The $300,000 would come from tourism tax revenue through the hotel, motel, food and beverage taxes.

Spirit Mountain also remained closed all summer because of the pandemic, so it wasn’t able to generate any new revenue.

Spirit Mountain has not qualified for any COVID-19 federal relief because it is government-owned and operated.

“Businesses that rely on Spirit Mountain and our residents that rely on it for their own recreation and just the economic impact that it has on our region that it’s open for the winter season so I’m going to be supporting the funding tonight,” said Arik Forsman, a Duluth city councilor and a member of the Spirit Mountain Task Force.

The council recently approved a $74,000 to hire a consulting firm to look deeper into the finances of Spirit Mountain.

The Spirit Mountain Task Force, which is lead by council member Forsman along with council member Kennedy, will come out with a report about the recreation area in February.

Right now, an interim director is in place after the former director and general manager – a husband and wife team – abruptly resigned without any reasons, at least publicly.

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