As part of the 2014 Minnesota Legislature’s Capital Investment Omnibus (Bonding) Bill, Koochiching County received over $10 million dollars for two significant capital projects. The Island View Sanitary Sewer Project received over $7.8 million dollars for extension of the sanitary sewer to the remaining private and commercial properties to the end of Highway 11 East at Sha Sha Point. The project will extend service to 162 residential and 8 commercial properties at a total estimated cost of $14 million. The project is part of a larger project – The Voyageurs National Park Clean Water Project – a collaboration between Koochiching and St. Louis Counties and including Crane, Kabetogama, and Rainy Lake and Ash River within Voyageurs National Park. The Island View segment of the project is undergoing final engineering and financial review before construction begins in 2015. The project is viewed as providing both an environmental benefit as well as an economic development benefit.
The other project receiving funding was the remodel/expansion of the Falls International Airport Terminal Building. The project cost is estimated at $11 million dollars and received $2.2 million from the bonding bill. The City of International Falls and Koochiching County have committed a total of $1 million dollars as part of the local contribution to the project.
The Falls International Airport is one of nine commercial airports in Minnesota and one of three airports that provide U. S. Customs service for international traffic. The current terminal building has 12,147 square and was constructed in 1978. The plans for the expanded terminal will increase the size to over 26,000 square feet and will incorporate larger gate seating with restrooms, secure Customs area, and an enclosed jetway.
The Falls International Airport Commission is working with S.E.H. Engineering and Architectural Alliance on design and finance models for a possible Spring 2015 construction timeframe.