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Spirit Mountain receives funding from Duluth City Council

DULUTH, MN-- $300,000 will be heading towards Spirit Mountain.

In a unanimous vote Monday night the Duluth City Council decided to allocate funds towards helping Spirit Mountain open up come wintertime.

The hill did not qualify for federal coronavirus funding and members of the Duluth City Council felt this was their way of helping out.

The $300,000 is coming from a project that the council previously voted against.

However, that money still must be used in the western corridor of the city.

Spirit Mountain has been struggling as they have not been able to operate their bike trails, adventure park, and more during the pandemic.

Without the money made during the summer, they would not have enough funds to get up and running this winter.

Now with the funding, Spirit Mountain can operate as soon as they can make enough snow.

Councilors said this is important especially during the pandemic, as Spirit Mountain will play a key role because it allows people to get outside and will be good for physical and mental health.

It also provides an economic boom for Duluth according to city councilor Arik Foresman.

"We know that Spirit Mountain has an economic impact in the millions of dollars. A large portion of that comes during the winter when we don't have other attractions open. UMD completed an economic impact study in 2004, that showed a 5.9 million dollar annual economic impact in the Duluth Area," Foresman said.

Once in opposition, Councilor Derek Medved changed his mind at tonight's meeting and said that the mountain and it's employees serve a purpose.

However, in the future, should spirit need more money he will heavily evaluate his decision.

This comes less than 10 months after the council sent $235,000 Spirit Mountain's way after bad weather forced the cancellation of a major event last year.

Another option was closing down spirit mountain entirely, but city administrators say it would put Duluth on the hook for about $1.5 million.

Spirit Mountain does have debt, and recently a task force was created to help make good long-term plans financially for the mountain.

John Cardinale

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