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City taking applications for Spirit Mountain task force

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DULUTH, MN. -- New details have emerged on how the city of Duluth plans to usher the financially challenged Spirit Mountain into the future.

This year, Spirit officials decided not to open the adventure park, or mountain biking trails amid COVID-19 uncertainty.

Instead, their goal is to reopen the ski hills in the winter.

Losing out on that summer revenue, and closing the ski hills early during the 2019-20 season, will be challenging for Spirit Mountain looking into the future.

Now, Duluth Mayor Emily Larson announced a new task force to determine what steps the recreational area could take to become more financially stable.

Wednesday, the city announced residents can start applying to serve on that task force. The city will appoint 9-to-eleven people.

City Councilors Arik Forsman and Janet Kennedy will lead the group, which will be tasked with making recommendations on things like business improvement strategies, capital infrastructure, adjustments to tourism tax support spirit mountain receives, and other possible options that could include selling or redeveloping part of the hill.

"This is something that we actually quite honestly [were] going to announce in my State of the City address back in March, and because other things needed some priority we were able to address those priority issues and now we are coming back to this priority issue. So, we are really really eager to get going in that conversation," said Mayor Larson.

Applications will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. on July 8th. The group will be asked to make recommendations by the end of the year.

The city of Duluth also approved a $235,000 bailout for Spirit Mountain earlier this year.

That was after bad weather forced the cancellation of Snocross in late November, one of the hill's biggest events of the year.

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Ryan Compeau

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